Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Yellow Bear

Today was a day to be outdoors. One of those superb fall days that started slow with clouds and dampness -- but rallied by afternoon into a blue sky day. I watched a yellow bear crawl across our retaining wall. Can you tell which way it is going?

This is a small yellow bear, barely two inches long with long hairs that hide its legs and mouth. It is more formally known as a Virginian tiger moth (Spilosoma virginica). It is common, perhaps even more common that its better known cousin, the woolly bear. So which way is it going? To the right.

Cabbage butterflies are also about in the yard on these early fall days. I took note of them earlier in summer when the caterpillar stage was chewing away on our cabbages. I wasn't too fond of them then, but I like the butterflies with their pure white wings and black spots. They kept alighting on the kale, striking a nice pose.

As the days grow shorter and the sun rises lower in the sky, I absorb as much daylight as possible. The insects will soon be gone or hibernating as pupa, so even the pesky ones I take delight in seeing on these waning days of summer. The nasturtium and morning glory days are numbered too, but they carry on in their brilliance until the first frost. The morning glory flowers were 40 in number today!


  1. How I love morning glories! Yours are really stunning. When I've grown them, their blooms got more and more intense leading up to the end of the season, as if putting out a last terrific performance before the curtain falls.

    I had never seen a yellow bear before. Tiger moths are some of my favorite types of moths but now I'll know to keep an eye out for their caterpillars as well. Thanks!

  2. Hi Gabrielle -- I've never had such gorgeous morning glories. Maybe it is all the rain we've had this growing season. Regardless they just keep flowering. No frost yet so hoping they last awhile.