Wednesday, February 11, 2009

light at the end of the tunnel

Spring, unlike the end of war, is just around the corner. The sparrows and starlings, species notorious for their concupiscence, are ratcheting up the racket; there was an osprey seen in Queens last week; the innernet reports snow drops popping up in the BBG; and I saw bees on Sunday around the East Village hives. Bees! Making what we so euphemistically call cleansing flights (the sisters have been holding it in for months now). The above picture, as you might guess, is not from Sunday, but rather recycled from last year in the BBG Rose Garden.

Speaking of recycling, spiders eat their webs. The zigzaggy pattern you often see in webs, known as stabilimenta, may be there to alert birds to the presence of the web. Moths sacrifice their scales to escape the drops of spider glue on webs. Some stinkbugs can dissolve webs with their saliva. Spiders can autotomize, that is, cut off their legs to escape painful counter-attacks by prey. And if I may expand on Gerry's lovely exploration of milkweed: some beetles will cut the leaves' laticifers (tubes that carry latex) to bleed off the dangerous latex, then proceeding to eat the leaf beyond the cut, now free of the defensive latex.

Today is my bud Jim’s birthday, which means my birthday twin Erica’s b-day is nine days away. And if it’s my birthday twin’s…. And the on the 23rd, it's the third anniversary of this blog. Tomorrow is Lincoln’s 200 birthday, and Darwin’s. Neither Jim, Erica, nor myself are that old even if you add all our years together, thank you very much.


Gerry Gomez Pearlberg said...

Wren told me that on Sunday, during our beekeeping meeting, a honeybee flew into our house. So yes, spring is a-popping. And I can confirm the snowdrop sightings: I saw them on Eastern Parkway about 3 weeks ago, and couldn't believe my eyes. They're inspiring.

amarilla said...

I can't stop looking at the freakin' amazing picture. What are those things on the bees legs?

M.Thew said...

That's pollen. Protein rich and delish. They pack the stuff there mixed with a little honey. The rear legs have a sort of scooped out hollow shape for it.

amarilla said...

That explains why they sort of look like honey cakes.

Gerry Gomez Pearlberg said...

Hence the expression, "the bees knees"? You decide:

yours truly,
"the sardine's whiskers"