Deborah Canterbury, 2014
Remember the question Paul Napper brought to us about the effects of the freeze and then the heavy rains? Dave Powell and Sally Evans contributed these thoughts.
My three spiny Fence Lizards are here as is my Anole however I have noticed the insect population is down. I attributed it to the freeze which might have killed a lot of insect larva that was getting close to maturity, the rain does not seem to cause the same thing. Maybe someone else can give definitive answer.
I awakened this morning just at sunrise. I sat on the edge of the bed looking out my big sliding glass door to a green, green yard. The center is lawn but all around are trees and shrubs and garden beds prolific with unwanted plants – yes, weeds! But the sun was still low and the sun stripes across that landscape were gentle and lovely. It is almost summer solstice so the sun was far to my left. In winter it is far to my right. Thus I keep track of my seasons.
My sleepy eyes were taking it all in. All was quiet – too quiet. There were no birds chirping or squirrels running here and there or charging through the trees. The early morning lizard that runs across my deck was nowhere to be seen. Perhaps the Cooper’s hawk was in the area or perhaps there was something else that was causing this unnatural phenomenon. Some of my uneasy thoughts were quelled by the sight of a tiny female hummingbird checking for nectar on the sage plants and one lonesome bee.
I was still too groggy to begin a morning routine so I continued to sit and think about….. so many things. But what stood out was I suddenly realized that the Mayflies that come in April had not come. The June bugs heavy on the screens at night in May, had not come. I have not seen any crickets. It is a bit too early for the big grasshoppers. Had the February freeze caused their demise or had the many rains this spring caused them to not be able to complete their circle of life?
Finally saw my first Tiger swallowtail here on the farm. They seemed far more abundant last year and the year before but perhaps the cooler, rainy May has diminished their activity.
About 10 days ago returning to the farm about 9:30 in the evening I was impressed in seeing a fair number of moths in the car’s headlights- something I almost never see now. Entomologists have been drawing attention to the lack of this “windshield phenomenon “ for some years and it fits with my experience. Back in the late ‘40s and early ‘50s I remember dozens to hundreds of squished bugs on the hood, grill, and headlights of my grandparents’ Buick during our summer trips out west. I’m not sure I’ve cleaned a single insect from the front of my 2011 truck much less from Fran’s 2019 sedan.
We have had a particular abundance of rabbits and squirrels this year along with more deer but of course they are herbivores.