fall arrives!

A few things of note before I forget them too.

Thje tree crickets are so loud in the backyard now that they drown out the regular old field/grass crickets.  It’s almost painful – almost as loud as the 17-year locusts the other year.  It’s a massive, synchronized high-pitched, pulsing, shrieking noise.  Something vaguely ‘Psycho’ about it, except that it doesn’t stop.

Even fewer butterflies around this year than last, and last year had fewer than the year before, etc.  About all we ever see now are occasional whites and a few skippers.  A silver-spotted skipper today, but that’s small potatos to what we got not ten years ago.  When we moved into this city house back in 1994, we had Blues, Tiger and Black Swallowtails, a couple of Red Admiral sightings, Whites and Sulfurs both, some smallish fritillaries, 1 Painted Lady, Monarchs in the Fall, several different skippers, and even a couple Hummingbirds and once a Hummingbird Hawkmoth of some kind.  Now, only 15 years later, today we’re down to a single White, a single Silver-spotted Skipper and a couple of Bumblebees on the Butterfly bushes and flower beds.  Some folks down the block have a sedum bed, but about all they have is the small skippers and a White or two.  I haven’t seen a single Honeybee all year, and even the small Bumblebees which were coming back with the decrease of the Honeybees have simply vanished.  A couple of Leafcutter Bees earlier this year is about it for the small bees.  I think things went downhill about the time people in this neighborhood went heavily into TruGreen and Chemlawn and all that stuff, but that may simply be coincidence, and I notice it because that’s what I would expect to happen.

On the good side, a couple weeks ago, I was sitting on the couch watching a David Attenborough DVD on arthropods when I felt a tickling on my head and found I had a young Praying Mantis watching with me.  Beats me how he/she got in the house, but I was able to snag it gently (boy, they can jump suprisingly well at that age) and deposit it onto a handy bush.  It didn’t seem to want to go, either, but I insisted.

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