Ladybug dating service

It is spring, the season of growth and change and, as it turns out, ladybugs.  We live near a good-sized area of open space.  A few years back I noticed that spring meant an abundance of ladybugs in that area.  Last year, we began to offer the ladybugs transportation to our rose bushes to ensure that they had an ample supply of juicy aphids.  This year, ladybugs and aphids are in great abundance and Miranda has become a master ladybug wrangler.  We’ve gone out every afternoon for the last two weeks and brought home at least a dozen red friends, many of whom we’ve even shared with neighbors whose flowers might also use the protection.

Now, Miranda likes to keep the ladybugs overnight in their big plastic jar.  Initially, I thought this a bit cruel and wanted to free them almost immediately.  But, I observed that the ladybugs seem to get quite busy in their jar with few bugs to eat and little distance between them.  It occurred to me that we are providing a ladybug (technically, a Ladybird Beetle) dating service.  Next year there may a ladybug baby boom.  Juicy aphids watch out!  If only they ate mosquitoes.

Feeling Blue

A pair of Scrub Jays built a nest in my over-sized shrub this year.  I had my concerns about them when I noticed they were hanging around.  They don’t make good neighbors.  My worst fears have been confirmed.  They are a noisy pair.  The male torments my cat by landing on the picnic table outside the dining room window and leaping up to see her sitting inside.  It would be quite comical if I wasn’t so concerned the cat might go through the screen.  They also torment the neighbor’s cat when he’s in my yard.  All this tormenting means alot of squawking.

My hammock has become a jay perch. Or, it would, if Miranda and I weren’t running outside vigilantly to shoo it way.  We actually have to to wave our arms at it to get it to leave.  Walking outside is not enough.  Brazen! This morning Brent suggested I try squawking at it on the premise that it doesn’t understand English.  I don’t know what was more annoying; the Jay squawking or me squawking.

Baby Quail

Last year we found a baby Gamble’s Quail very late in the season.  We found a lady who rescues them and took it to her.  Last week Miranda discovered that the neighbors had disturbed a nest while doing their yard work.  The parents won’t return to a disturbed nest.  So M brought an egg home.  I found her in her room gently coddling her treasure.  She and dad took it to the Quail Lady.  I’m not optimistic but she said she’d try.  It was a HUGE egg by quail standards.

I solace myself that the pair has time to have a second clutch of eggs.  Miranda was so thrilled by the “beautiful, speckled egg.”  I don’t know what hurt me worse, taking it from her or knowing it wouldn’t make it.

The Quail Lady told me everything eats baby quail; snakes, other birds, Sonoran Toads.  They are at the bottom of the food chain.  It makes me want to give them any help I can.