I saw a mouse in the garden today. Shit. I suppose it’s possible it was just passing through and it lives somewhere else, but that’s bound to be wishful thinking. Time to buy mousetraps. I just hope they don’t catch something they shouldn’t (such as my toe). Sigh. Why couldn’t it have been a toad?
Actually, thinking about mousetraps…back at the beginning of June, I think it was, I’d found a dead American robin (Turdus migratorius) and buried it in the rose bed. The two roses right next to the ‘grave’ are growing fantastically. So hopefully if I can catch the mouse, it will provide a similar boost to one of the other roses. Nothing goes to waste in nature.
While gathering milkweed to feed the Monarch caterpillars yesterday, I found a couple Milkweed Tussock Caterpillars/Milkweed Tiger Moth (Euchates egle). I brought one in to raise just for the hell of it, but I don’t think I’ll do a diary of it. The later-instar caterpillars are interesting to look at, but the imago (adult) is nothing special. Also, it’s not a species that needs encouraging; the caterpillars feed gregariously at first and they can skeletonise an entire plant in no time. It’s a little odd that there were only two caterpillars when I found them. I hadn’t realised they live this far north.
This makes the third species of Tiger Moth caterpillar I’ve found in the garden this year, the others being the Banded Woolly Bear/Isabella Tiger Moth (Pyrrharctia isabella) and the Yellow Bear/Virginia Tiger Moth (Spilosoma virginica). In fact, that last one is feeding on my blue flag iris (Iris versicolor) right now. However, it’s a bit misleading to speak of them as a single group of Tiger Moths because they belong to different genera.
But for now, a real butterfly. Well, a caterpillar. The Eastern Black Swallowtail caterpillar is now over an inch long and its colours and patterning are very clear now. The other ones I’m raising are not happy about being switched to carrot leaves, but they seem to be adjusting. Tough luck; there wouldn’t have been enough dill in the garden for all of them anyway. There ought to be just enough to raise this one entirely on dill, but it might not work out that way.