Damsel in Distress

Muddy damselfly that can't fly. The spider's leg is barely showing above its eye

Critters root around in the mulch every night, and I assumed it was either raccoons or skunks or both. I went out at 4:30 am Sunday morning to put down the gate and let the water in, and came across a large critter waddling toward the ditch. It was a very large porcupine — so large and fat that I think it was a pregnant female.  Ever since I stepped on a skunk in the dark a few years ago, I don’t go out in the yard at night without a flashlight. Now I have even more reason not to walk around in the dark without a flashlight.

When I went out to shut off the water there was a damselfly covered with mud on the edge of the gate.  It couldn’t fly and a spider was going for it. I picked it up and carefully  rubbed some of the mud off it’s wings. It flew a little, decided it was still too had to fly, flew back and landed on my finger. I rubbed a little more dirt off its wings, then photographed it while it worked on getting the mud off it’s head. It took another test flight, flew back to my finger and I again worked on rubbing mud off its wings, while it scraped it off its head. We finally removed enough mud that it flew off toward the rising sun.

A tiny preying mantis got on my arm. It was so small I could hardly see it, and I might have squished if I hadn’t noticed it. I coaxed it onto a rose bush and it posed nicely, although it was so small I had a terrible time focusing on it. Then a fly landed next to my plate and started rubbing its front legs together like it wanted my food. The photo ended up looking more like it was praying, So I called it a praying fly.

We were sitting on the deck while I was writing this blog, but the temperature was dropping fast and drove us back inside. Hot, windy then cold — totally silly weather.

Damselfly cleaning mud off its head
Before we got it cleaned up enough to fly off
Tiny praying mantis
Praying fly