The trick to finding something unusual is to become familiar with the, well, familiar. When you know what is supposed to be there, the out of place will stand out.
This was demonstrated to me most vividly this morning. Our refuse and recycling collectors have been coming at a ridiculous (to me) hour of the morning recently. I mean, I am a morning person and I'm up, but not necessarily out (especially not as I get older) at the break of dawn. So I was a good girl, got my butt in gear early and hauled everything out to the curb. Early. (I live in a rural area but on a main highway; putting out the garbage and recyclables the evening before is not a good idea. You really don't want raccoons, trash, bottles and/or garbage cans scattered across a blind curve…) As I was already up and out, I changed out the hummingbird feeders as well. I decided to add a feeder to a window that hadn't had one, and as I walked around the corner of the house, the top of a dried sprig of grass caught my eye as being not quite right. Wrong color, wrong pattern, wrong texture. I took a closer look and when I realized what I saw, I did my so-glad-I-live-alone-and-away-from-neighbors chortling, mumbling, gleeful cackling. Mostly it was repeatedly chanting "must get the camera must get the camera must get the camera"...
Bizarre bee fly death ritual???
I thought perhaps this was just a one-off, but as I was taking photos, I found another one!
As it was a typical Cape May spring day--a breezy, damp and chill 44° (hey, at least we made it above freezing for the first time in days)--I'm assuming this is just what bee flies do when it's too cold for critters with no internal thermoregulation mechanisms who have misjudged the arrival of Spring.
I'm assuming they are alive--I didn't want to warm either one up to make sure, as the weather continues to go downhill as the day goes by.
Oh, and the trash collectors? They hadn't made it 'round when I left the house at 9am.