Sunday, May 04, 2008

More Signs of Spring

Although it's been extremely late in coming this year, spring has finally arrived! We have glossy new leaves on the trees and wonderful surprises such as this Polyphemus (Saturniid) moth I spotted on my way out to the mailbox. My attempts to find the best position from which to snap his picture must have disturbed him because he made a weak attempt to fly. He must have been near the end of his life as he hardly seemed to have the strength and appeared glad to land on my outstretched hand. After a couple more quick pics I helped him back onto the tree trunk. When I came out later to retrieve the mail he'd died and fallen off. I'm thankful to have seen it alive and still vibrantly colored.

When I was a girl in Texas I kept my eyes peeled for gorgeous Luna moths (another member of the Saturniid family), with their huge and luminous wings of palest celadon. I assume they were so named for their tendency to appear on moonlit nights, probably sipping nectar from night-blooming flowers. Another delightful surprise was the annual appearance of the tiny, almost fluorescnet-green tree frogs who climbed up the large plate glass windows of our house early each summer. Their underbellies and minute suction-cup feet were a lovely coral color and their calls provided background music to languid evenings spent trying to keep cool in the heat and humidity of the Gulf Coast.

I wonder if these and other unique animals still survive in that part of the country or if they've gone the way of the Horned Toad and succumbed to loss of habitat and pollution.