14 May 2009

To admire the flowers

We paid a visit to our neighboring small farmer. He keeps a small flock of goats and sheep, a variety of bantam and heritage chickens, and provides all of his own produce from a large garden and dozen fruit trees he planted 20 years ago when he started his small farm. Now in his mid-sixties, he is still going strong, but he values our help during haying season to put up 2000 square bales for his herd. And in exchange we use his tractor gear to put up our own 250 bales, and to work up our two acres for grain and garden. And at the same time we have developed a friendship, sympathizing with one another's success and struggles in the garden and around the farm.

Every spring, he has a profuse explosion of daffodils and crocuses and lilies and all kinds of beautiful spring flowers, and every spring, we admire them.

Found a few critters that I would like to find out more about. I have seen this very same species of spider on our potato plants. It is some kind of crab spider. It hunts rather than build a nest, waiting patiently for an unsuspecting herbivorous insect, which makes them a good beneficial insect in the garden.
Flower Crab Spider

And this one is new to me, some sort of nectar eating fly. It is not a bee, for lack of antennae, and it has quite a long proboscis to reach the nectar. Interesting critter, this one.

Greater Bee Fly

Our neighbor is also an amateur naturalist and birder, so he has dozens of birdhouses, bird feeders, bird baths, frog ponds, and trees planted especially to feed the birds. We always see a large flock of about a dozen Tree Swallows at his place, and I was lucky enough to catch the picture below.
His plum, apple and pear trees are just beginning to bud, when they are in full bloom, it is a beautiful sight.


Anonymous said...

Lovely pics of spring my friend. I'm so happy it's in full swing up there for you now too!! Miss you! If you see me online, lets chat sometime, okay? :)

Michelle said...

The unidentified insect looks to me like a Sphinx Moth... they hover just like hummingbirds and are particularly fond of my purple lilacs and purple flox...

Freija and Beringian Fritillary said...

farm mom, Full swing is right, we may hit 90 degrees F tomorrow! Whew! Miss you too, I will watch for you.

Michelle, it turns out it is Bombylius major - Greater Bee Fly. It is of the fly family, and eats nectar. Here's a link to the bugguide.net page where I identified it http://bugguide.net/node/view/14997. I would love to see one of those Sphinx Moths though!

Freija and Beringian Fritillary said...

PS, the small white spider above is a Flower Crab Spider, and it actually catches bees as well as other unsuspecting prey. see http://bugguide.net/node/view/6749