Friday, November 30, 2018

Rescue adventures

Common buckeye
This afternoon I returned to the grape hyacinth site to collect more morning glory seeds. A buckeye on the nearly bare ground caught my eye. I nearly cried. Such beauty in such desolate surroundings. This vacant lot is just that–a long-ignored plot of land that contains dirt piles, rocks, broken glass, assorted native and weedy plants, the sweet little bulbs, and a population of an uncommon morning glory species.

While squatting down to pick seedpods, some odd-looking plants startled me. See them in the photo above? Then I got a closer look–it was a big bird grasshopper!
I scooped up the grasshopper and set it on the slope of a nearby dirt pile. "If you're still there on my way out, you can go home with me," I said. "It's up to you." I figured since the lot will be paved over in the near future, I might as well save some critters, too.
In between collecting, I spotted a wasp I'd seen there before. Meet Compsocryptus texensis, a harmless ichneumoid wasp. Females, like this one, have long ovipositors, which can be mistaken for stingers. I think they're beautiful, too.
After half an hour, I decided to call it quits and head home. Yes, my grasshopper friend was still on the dirt pile, waiting for me. So off we went!

Together, we walked out to the Meadow, where I released it.

While collecting seeds close to where the grasshopper was, I saw a dime-sized mama wolf spider scuttling through the dead vines. She was carrying a tiny egg sac in her spinnerets. You can probably guess what happened next. Yes, I scooted her into my plastic collection bag. Then I carefully carried the bag back to my car, where I gently laid the bag on the back seat. Then I grabbed an envelope to replace the plastic bag and went back to collecting.
After I released the grasshopper, then it was her turn. (In left photo, she's in top right hand corner of the plastic bag.)
 Alas, she was missing two legs.

I released my spider friend in the back yard, where the foliage is still fairly thick. Now her progeny will be protected in our Wildscape. Welcome!

1 comment:

brewbooks said...

Amazing what we can see when we look carefully. Very nice writeup.

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