I'm still in a caterpillar mode..........
Yes, caterpillars are still striking my fancy these days. I found this one while dealing with the weeds in my vegetable garden. This is the reward of growing carrots. These larval forms of a Black Swallowtail Butterfly can be found eating the foliage of carrots, parsley and their relatives. I love these beautiful caterpillars - their color and design are so attractive, plus they have a special defensive adaptation. If you stroke the head end of this caterpillar, out comes a forked, orange, "osmeterium" that is supposed to ward off predators. When it emerges, scents are released that also serve to discourage their consumption. I am watching these caterpillars grow and go into their resting stage. Unfortunately, once in a chrysalis, they will not emerge until spring. Consequently, I think I will place their chrysalises outside in an area near the garden which will not get cleaned up or plowed in the spring. Here is what might take flight in the spring, as a result of dining on my carrots...

I am still shopping for a new digital camera to replace the one I dropped in a tidepool. I took a couple of caterpillars in a ziploc bag to test the cameras' ability to capture macro images up close and personal. The salesman tried to take a picture in the bag with the camera focusing on the plastic. I offered to take the caterpillars out and he screamed......"Oh no! I am scared of all insects!" Can you image a 6 ft. mature salesperson not able to focus on a live, loose caterpillar? I was amazed. Needless to say, I didn't buy a camera from him and am still looking, with my caterpillars as a test.

The BIG NEWS is a sighting of a Bull Moose in Phippsburg. My daughter was driving out the Sebasco Road, coming to the intersection with Route 209. As she drew to a halt at the stop sign, she was shocked to see a moose with a full rack of antlers pass her on the right, crossing 209, and disappearing into the woods! She didn't have time to take a picture, but later went back to photograph the large tracks left in the sand by the side of the road. So, all of us in Phippsburg are keeping our eyes peeled for another glimpse of this huge animal in our midst.

Recent days have started in the forty degree range, but no frost as yet on the coastline. I took a trip over to the relatively empty campground to check on Monarch activity. There were a lot of butterflies on the wing, and a surprising number of caterpillars still at work on the Milkweed. I gathered up nearly two dozen to share with kids in the Phippsburg school. Incidentally, I attended the Air Show over in Brunswick the last weekend. Watching the Monarch Butterflies maneuver over the crowd while airplanes were cavorting in the sky was an interesting contrast. The sublime to the ridiculous? (or vice versa?)

9/19/07 Ronnie, flying high.