Friday, May 29, 2015

Eureka!

Around Noon, I sat in the sun for about a half hour, waiting for the dozens of Bullfrogs who dived into hiding when I approached to surface again.  Man, it felt like August out there.  No wind, direct sun, and a dark shirt.  My black camera was absorbing too much heat, so I tried to keep it on the shady side of me while avoiding any movement that might be obvious to frogs.  I finally saw one surface just a few feet from me.  Here he is!  How do I know it's a he - because his eardrum (tympanum) is a larger diameter than his eye.  In females they're about the same size as the eye or a little smaller.  There were lots of tadpoles in the vicinity, and mating pairs of dragonflies and damselflies.  I got photos of all of these.  My next post will explain how this relates to my intended writings about Dellinger's Pond and will include some extra Bullfrog lore.

Look What I Found!

 My plan was to go in search of a good Bullfrog photo.  I had been hearing the low-pitched garumph mornings at Dellinger's Pond, and their high-pitched squeak as they jumped into the water and evaded my lens.  Today I was determined to get a decent close-up to go with some writing I'm doing about the pond.  Just before getting into the car, I saw the scene pictured below.  It's the remnants of last Fall's firewood processing, and that one stick with a large know on the side looked like a perfect place for a Darkling Beetle to hide.  I must be part beetle because when I turned the log over I found this pair (above) mating.  I suspect they got into this position yesterday afternoon when it was warmer, and stayed that way all night.  This morning it was too cold for them to care.  When I turned over the log they didn't move.  After getting this photo, I carefully replaced the log so they could carry on.
I then turned over quite a few more logs and large pieces of bark and found only ants and tiny spiders.  Like i said, I must be part beetle because the first log I picked out had the beetles under it.
I did carry on and eventually got some good Bullfrog photos.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Inevitable? I hope not.

Check my previous post.  I wonder if these girls are looking at photos of butterflies on daisies.  If so, I wonder if they took the photos.  I'm trying to be an optimist.

If You'd Rather See This...

rather than this...
 or this...
then you'll never see this!
  Click on the image, and it gets better.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Like a box of chocolates, sort of....

Like Forrest Gump's box of chocolates - when you look at every daisy for insects and spiders, you never know what you're going to get.  Daisies are blooming all around American Valley now, even in my front yard.  I'm eager to see my first Goldenrod Crab Spider of the season.  Meanwhile, I'm seeing many kinds of beetles and hoping to soon see a Thread-waisted Wasp.  The above daisy, an outlier, growing from a crack in the asphalt outside the flower garden by Midtown Coffee.  I'm hoping it'll be left alone for a while because lots of different insects and spiders visit this garden and daisies make a nice backdrop for photos.

Drama on the Cascade Trail

 More photos from Monday's walk on the Cascade Trail.  Above there's an acrobatic pair of Dimorphic Flower Longhorn Beetles mating while hanging beneath a blooming daisy while a related species, the Velvet Flower Longhorn Beetle watches from above.
 There are blooming Checker Bloom everywhere, and I have plenty of photos of them, but this trio caught my eye as they are partly hidden behind tall stems of Western Bracken Fern.
 I was curious why this butterfly chose the wilting flower right next to a fresher-looking one.  Insects detect many smells/tastes/etc. that we cannot, so what's visually appealing to us is usually irrelevant to them.
 It was fun watching this Velvet Flower Longhorn try to get into the disk flowers of a daisy that wasn't quite ready to bloom.
 Two different species of longhorn beetles competing for a meal.
A new species for me, the Tomcat Clover, Trifolium wildenovii.  Looks similar to the many species of Trifolium found on Table Mountain, but it looked different from an I'd seen before.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

An Impressive Trail Marker

When horse poop on the hiking trail supports a work of art like this, I don't mind at all.