yard aliens

When we’re in the parks, we often find that there are great critters to look at hiding in the grass or in the bark of trees. It’s great that on See It! days we have lenses and microscopes to see these crawling things up close.

Lately, since we’re not in parks, I’ve been paying more attention to the strange alien forms that I find in my own neighborhood and yard, especially at different times of day. Like, this fantastic creature:

A dragonfly perched on a small tree.

I wonder why the wings are shaped this way? Why are there 4 of them? Can it see me through those eyes? Why does it like to land here on the top of this small tree? Why don’t I see it other times of year? And where did it come from?

A few days later I found a few of these babies scrambling around on some leaves in my garden:

A baby preying mantis in my lettuce.
A baby preying mantis in my lettuce, staring back at me.

Do they look familiar to you? How big do you think they might get? And what are they doing on my lettuce?

And most mysterious of all, I found this empty bug. Really! The outside of the bug was there, but the inside seems to have escaped and left behind this shell!

A left-behind exoskeleton.

Isn’t it funny how the outside of this creature is still clinging to this plant? I wonder what the inside of this alien looks like. And where did it go? And why would it do this kind of escape from its own body, anyway?

What I’m learning is that there’s lots of really interesting life outside that I can discover if I just take the time to watch for it. I’m starting to notice more and different kinds of bees than I remember; and there are birds stopping by that I haven’t seen before. And I’m sure that this will continue to change throughout the summer.

What aliens have you noticed around your home?