Over the last couple of days I had two wildlife encounters in the garden that brought smiles to my face. The first was with two happy, fat swallowtail caterpillars, probably of the black swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes) feeding on a stand of last year's parsley gone to seed.
The slightly smaller of two black swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes) caterpillars
This morning, then, I came across a young praying mantis (Mantis religiosa) guarding one of my eggplants.
Darling praying mantis (Mantis religiosa) keeping the eggplants safe
Last year I watched a number of these growing up in the garden over the course of the summer but after not seeing any this year until now I had already given up on them. Consequently I was all the more happy to come across this one.