What: This little bug (well not a true bug, but an insect at least) caught my eye. I spotted a black dot from about 10 feet away then went in for a closer look. On closer inspection it appeared to be the claws of a common eastern bumblebee (Bombus impatiens). I've always been fascinated by the forked claws at the end of the tarsus and at first that was all I could see. I'm not sure who she was (worker or queen) or why she was here rather than cozying up in her den. As I took the photo the very very first drops of rain started to fall - did she get caught too far from home to make it back? Is she a queen out looking for a new colony site? I went back this morning and she was still there (about 12 hours later). The rains look like they took a toll! Reminded me of the rain storm in the movie Microcosmos.
Ecological notes: I was gone for about 10 days, but now that I'm back it seems like a totally new world. Everything has shot up, the new shoots on my elderberries are about 4' tall! The forest seems so much darker in the understory with all the leaves fully leafed out.
Where: My backyard.
Other notes: I'll update in a couple of days with a mystery photo from Ireland. I was happy to know that my education wasn't a waste if I decide to leave Vermont - turns out that the field naturalist skills I learned in Vermont apply to other places too!