Local news and weather

About a week ago, we were still struggling with a faint drought, having had no rain in roughly two weeks while temperatures were peaking in the 30s, and the rain barrels were rapidly emptying as we kept the various plants watered. That evening I took the misting sprayer and went around to the likeliest plants to give them a thorough misting, knowing the mantids, at least, would be pleased with it. I saw a couple, but they’re still small enough that a heavy rain is a hazard to them, and they jumped out of direct contact; I knew they’d still slurp the moisture from safe locations, so I considered it more beneficial than mean. One in particular though, out on the lizard’s tail plants (Saururus cernuus) in the backyard pond, was quite appreciative and stood bravely in the mist as it wafted down, but a little less brave as I leaned in close with the macro rig. It took a few attempts before I could get a straight-on portrait.

very young Chinese mantis Tenodera sinensis on lizard/s tail Saururus cernuus after misting
But after the first few tries, and as I started to ignore the mantis in favor of anything else on the same plants, the mantis became bolder and started showing off its agility.

very young Chinese mantis Tenodera sinensis stretching out on lizard's tail Saururus cernuus
This one appears to have taken up residency on the plant, happy with its own moat I guess, and is growing noticeably larger so it appears to be finding enough food too. With the lizard’s tail flowers just coming into bloom (everything is running late this year,) I’m not surprised.

Around the house at the front garden, a bit of movement after misting attracted my eye, and I’m not sure if this guy purposefully came out of hiding to bask in the falling moisture or not.

juvenile green treefrog Hyla cinerea perhaps coming out for misting
Most times, when I’ve seen the treefrogs while I’m misting, they seem to either just hunker down when it passes over them, or actively jump away, not frantically, but not seeming to relish the direct contact. What little movement I saw from this green treefrog (Hyla cinerea) however, seemed to be in effort of getting out in the open. It was quite small, larger than my thumbnail but smaller than the top joint of my thumb, and a little reluctant to pose, but you know how expert I am at convincing species to be pretty.

I didn’t see it again, which isn’t too surprising – some of the nights have gotten cold, and treefrogs can easily decide to switch their hunting spots, but just today as the downpours rolled in (finally,) I found it again in the same area, less than a meter from the last sighting, and again, appearing to delight in the water.

green treefrog Hyla cinerea coming out for rain
That one big water drop on the day lily leaf gives an impression of scale, at least, and about the only one I’m going to manage, because the frog’s still a bit spooky, which is fine; they should remain aware of dangers. I could take to wearing a ‘friend of treefrogs’ badge I suppose, but you know how often those are counterfeited by confidence hustlers; nobody trusts them anymore.