I went out to our neglected garden on Saturday afternoon just to take a look around, see if there was any food to harvest, make future plans to clean up and make room for winter vegetables...ya know, garden stuff. I made my way over to the sunflowers and began snapping iPhotos when I saw movement...and it was this guy...a huge praying mantis. He was a bit camera shy, doing his best to avoid getting his photo taken. But I was able to sneak a few.
At one point he just stopped, cocked his head sideways, and looked straight at me like, "Really? Can't you see I do not want my photo taken?"
I just stared back, hoping he wasn't gonna jump on me, ya know, to drive his point home. (I like them, but I don't want them ON me.)
Each year I get so excited at the sight of the first praying mantis in our yard. We have them every year it seems. Little praying mantis babies, lots of them. One year I first started seeing them on the trunk of the pecan tree. This year they were in the grapes. As the summer goes on we see fewer and fewer of them, but every now and then get a glimpse of one or two that made it to adulthood. And a few weeks ago we got a glimpse of a shed exoskeleton.
One year when the boys were little Chris found a praying mantis egg on an old fence board. We put it in a jar with no lid, set it on the porch rail and checked it every day. One afternoon we came home from errands to find hundreds of the tiniest, cutest, little praying mantis forming a chain out of themselves to get out of the jar. For weeks many of them lived in the Japanese maple next to our porch. That was a cool experience.
(So just out of curiosity I decided to go see if he was still hanging out on the sunflowers...and he was! I didn't bother him this time, though, don't want to scare him off. I refer to it as a "he" but I don't know how to tell if it's male or female. If you know how, please do tell.)