Friday, February 1, 2019

Interesting Winter Finds

 It warmed up a bit this week so I thought I would go out and do a few chores. Nothing exciting mind you because all has been frozen for so long. I needed to get outside. As I was surveying all the sticks that had been blown out of the surrounding trees I found a tip of limb from the maple tree with a cecropia moth cocoon attached lying on the ground.
 This is how long the tip is with the cocoon on it.
This is the length of the cocoon itself.
You can see how leaves were pulled around the larva to make the cocoon.
The Maple tree was already pushing out some buds. I would never have thought that except that the first part of January was above normal temperatures and the last of January was below. 
I didn't notice at first that there was a tear in the cocoon. I briefly took the cocoon inside to try for a close up to try to show the larva inside. My DB helped with this close up. 
I have no idea if the larva was compromised by hitting the path with such force that the cocoon tore. Or if a squirrel found it and bit a hole in it and decided that it wasn't worth the effort??? So many questions.
So I closed the flap over the hole and placed it in the duff near where I found it. Maybe if it is living it will make it to spring. 
My other find which was not far from the cocoon was an owl pellet. It was too cold to be outside long so I just took a picture of it with the ruler so I could see how long it was. 
As you can see it appears to be a ball of fur with a big tooth or claw. To the right of it was a piece of bone. 
I went outside today since it was so much warmer and was going to take apart the Owl pellet to see if there were more bones in it. It was no where to be found. Makes me wonder what happened to it. Maybe all that fur is down in a a vole hole keeping them warm???
Have you found anything of interest in your garden this winter?

24 comments:

  1. Oh voles are awful creatures! You made some neat finds though.

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  2. Boy, was this ever interesting!! Thank you. I felt like I was walking along with you.

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  3. Oh Wow~ lovely and creative moth cocoon photos!

    Happy Day to you,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

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  4. Have a great weekend ~ getting a bit warmer ~ crazy up and down temps ~ in 50's next week then back to frigid !

    Happy Day to you,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

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  5. Covered in snow and will be for quite some time. So it's nice to come here and read what others find in their gardens.

    Wow - what a find with the cocoon! I do hope it makes it till spring. I was fascinated by the leaves woven around the larvae; hadn't really noticed the pattern before.

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  6. Lisa, forensic naturalist! I hope your moth survives his unfortunate adventure and I hope warmer temperatures hare headed your way.

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  7. When I was teaching we took owl pellets apart - it fascinated the children.

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  8. You really made the most out of your tour! I've never found either of those and would be amazed if I did. Maybe we have enough mice and voles that they just snatch up the owl pellets and overwintering cocoons before anyone else stands a chance... Cool discoveries though.
    This weekend I'm hoping to get outside again for more than a few minutes. We just ventured back above zero this morning but like you we have 50's in the forecast early next week. I'm going to trust that dirty little groundhog and say that there's hope for an early spring ;)

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    1. I hope you were able to get outside some this weekend.

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  9. Poor thing owl, Lisa. I have not seen interesting in my garden, the snow layer is too thick. You're fond of nature in winter.

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  10. Wishing you a wonderful Sunday ~ Xox

    Happy Day to you,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

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    Replies
    1. I enjoyed a beautiful day here. It felt like spring.

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  11. A very observant gardener. I have never come across an owl pellet but I can see why an examination would be quite fascinating. Well spotted.

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  12. We have little mice but no voles, as far as I can tell. A very nice backyard adventure you had.

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    1. I think you would know if you had voles or not Jason. They are quite destructive.

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  13. Owl pellets are so interesting. Back in the dark ages we'd order them from a science supply company for students to pull apart and see what the owl had eaten. Hope the moth makes it! fun winter finds in your garden!

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