April 7, 2010
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On that too-hot day this past weekend, I walked along a paved trail running between two cattail ponds. Paired geese honked and hissed and curved their necks at me before slipping silently into the water as I passed. A small flicker of movement, black on white, caught the corner of my eye. A thin white birch tree at the water’s edge was positively bustling with activity!
From two small, fresh gouges in the tree’s papery bark, clear sweet sap flowed freely; ants were busy making short work of the tasty meal. Lots of ants!
I have a new appreciation for people who photograph ants. They never. stop. moving. I had my camera set to some completely random setting (not intentionally) and most of my photos came out as big black blurs; these were the few where the ants were discernible as, well, ants.
These were the first active ants I’ve seen this season. I’ve found the odd one or two half-frozen beneath shaded logs in the past few weeks, but none so industrious as these. They’re such great fun to watch! I am hopelessly uselessly ignorant when it comes to ant ID…they fall into categories of either “black” or “red” according to my own carefully thought-out classification system. Little help?