Winter Wednesday-Our Winter Insect Study

We have had our eye out for insects the past few weeks.

Yesterday we actually saw two very small butterflies as we took our afternoon walk. We are going to try to take our butterfly net today and see if we can catch one to identify.

Added after today’s walk: We actually caught one of what we thought were butterflies and now I think they are moths.

Here is the best photo I could get inside the net. They are orange on the backsides of the wings. This is the first time that I have tried to actually catch a butterfly with a net and I am really glad that my son did not have a video camera. It was hilarious….I sort of felt like a tennis player, swatting at the air. Let’s just say that I got a lot of exercise. :)

We saw this on a bunch of leaves and we brought one home to investigate. We decided it is some sort of leaf miner that has been at work.

We found a whole section (pages 329-332) in the Handbook of Nature Study on leaf-miners!

“To most children, it seems quite incredible that there is anything between the upper and lower surfaces of a leaf, and this lesson should hinge on the fact that in every leaf, however thin, there are rows of cells containing the living substance of the leaf, with a wall above and a wall below to protect them…….The serpent-like markings and the blister-like blotches which we often see on leaves are made by the larvae of insects which complete their growth by feeding upon the inner living substance of the leaf.”
Handbook of Nature Study, pages 329 and 331

Here are a few more photos from our walk today.

So these little fungi caught our eye today on this piece of bark. They looked like little mini hamburger buns.

The manzanita is starting to bloom and the shape of the blossoms are so pretty and delicate.

I feel like we are finally starting to catch up on our Winter Wednesdays and our Outdoor Hour Challenges. We have been so busy and the weather so wet that it really distracted us from our time outdoors. It feels good to be back in the routine again.

Learn more about leaf miners in this challenge: 
 Leaf Miners and Leaf Rollers.


  1. Do you realize that your pictures and writing just make me want to pack up and head to California?!

  2. Looks like spring has definitely sprung for you (we are looking at a possible Nor’Easter this weekend). When I saw the pictures of the Manzanita the flowers reminded me a lot of blueberries that we have at our island in Maine.

    The link for Manzanita lead to Bearberry and when I read about Alpine Bearberry, I think it may have solved an identification problem we have had. We have a plant that looks similar to blueberry, but wasn’t. I’m going to have to check it out when we open this spring! Thanks!

  3. Last week, thinking of your winter insects, we found and identified Firebugs! They were sunning in groups at the bases of trees and buildings. There were also some very sleepy ladybugs mixed in with them. Now that we have snow again, they’ve disappeared.

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