Winter’s edge

I don’t know what these are, perhaps empty casings from the pupal stage that some insects go through? I wasn’t going to post them until I had a better idea of what they were, but I do like them just for their shapes and colours, and I haven’t had any luck identifying them. It had just rained before I took the photos, and the casings were about half full of water. At approximately 5 mm in height, they were all attached to a wire fence, usually in areas where the grass was long and partially covered them (Edit: thanks to flandrumhill for identifying these as sawfly cocoons).

Snow is still visible in shaded areas, along fence lines and in the forest. The Red-winged Blackbirds have returned and Cardinals are singing their spring songs.

According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, the Vernal Equinox begins tomorrow at 7:21 pm (Eastern Daylight Time). And tonight, our last full moon for the winter, we will see a “supermoon,” where the full moon is closer to earth than it has been in 18 years (and it won’t happen again until 2016, says EarthSky). So, if it’s a clear night and you can see it, the moon will be bigger and brighter than usual, and along the coast, tides will be unusually high and low. CBC news advises that the best time to check out the moon is close to sunset.


CBC News. Science and Technology:

Earth Sky:

Old Farmer’s Almanac:

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20 Responses to “Winter’s edge”
  1. Sybil says:

    Wonder how much bigger the tides will be ? I’m on the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia, where they’re only 3-4 feet but on Funday they can be up to 45 feet ! Truly a wonder of the world.

  2. montucky says:

    I would think that those are pupal casings too. I wonder when they released!

  3. Interesting – I wonder if the top was chewed off from the inside or the insect grew so large the top and side just broke apart. Great focus on the casings!

  4. flandrumhill says:

    Could it be a sawfly cocoon? It does look like the top was ‘sawed’ off.

    You can see a similar image at

  5. sandy says:

    I have seen them empty, and closed, but have no idea what lives in the cases. They are pretty in a photo, I agree with that.

    The moon was beautiful here, but my photos were not.

    • Hi sandy, I’m grateful to flandrumhill for suggesting they could be sawfly cocoons – and I think that’s right. I find it really hard to get good photos of the moon, too. But you’ve had some success in the past.

  6. Barbara Rodgers says:

    You find the most fascinating little things, Cait. What a pretty color the casings are.
    We had too many clouds to see the whole supermoon last night, but the lower quarter or so was huge on the horizon and a glowing orange in color. We’re going to try and see it again tonight.

    • I hope you were able to see the moon last night, Barbara, but it sounds like it was really beautiful even through clouds on the 19th. Wish I’d gotten to see it rising. Thanks for the kind words!

  7. Love the colours in these photographs!

    It was a beautiful, cloudless night here on the southern coast of South Africa. I tried to take some photos of the moon. Results were limited by my equipment and lack of experience in night-time photography.

    • Thanks Lisa, it sounds like you had perfect weather for moon gazing! I know just what you mean about trying to get moon photos, I don’t have experience with it either. I was going to try taking some last night, but we had cloud cover.

  8. Wonderful images, and great that Amy Lynn identified them as well. There seems such energy suspended in the cracked open cases that you’ve photographed so evocatively, like the spirit of the creature was still leaving.

    • Yes, it’s great Amy Lynn came by to take a look at them. Thanks, as always, for your thoughtful comment about the photos, Julian. I agree, there is a sense of the spirit of the inhabitants about them.

  9. donald says:

    great shots as always, the colors are exquisite!

    we had clear skies here on the coast of maine for moon viewing. it was beautiful, but like everyone else, my moon shooting skills are not the best! guess i will stick to gardens and snowstorms! speaking of which, just when we got down to almost no snow on the ground, along came 6 new inches yesterday. looking like winter again! thankfully, snow in march melts quickly.

    • That is a lot of snow, donald! We’ve had the odd snowstorm too but not as much as you. I look forward to your garden pictures this year. Thanks for the kind comment. Hope you see the grass again soon!

  10. missusk76 says:

    These are really beautiful. You ‘do’ DoF so well! How wonderful that Amy-Lynn was able to identify them for us all. What did we do before Internet?

    • Thanks very much for the kind comment, Cindy! I’m so glad that Amy-Lynn shared her knowledge about them. Hard to imagine ‘before’ the internet, and it wasn’t even that long ago!

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