Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Exotic Bugs of Plumas

Twice a week during camp a "bug walk with Joe" is announced, and what always crosses my mind is "What if we don't see any bugs?" But, they never disappoint. The Common Checkered Clerid seems to be landing on every species of flower now blooming. I wonder if each species of pollen tastes different to the beetle? The Crab Spider is sometimes reliably found resting on the very same flower for many days in a row. The one above has been on the huge Elderberry bush by the camp entrance - actually, just before the corral. It's really fun to be able to tell people we're going to see a certain bug in a certain place and have it be there as if consciously playing a part in my story. We hiked along the railroad track above camp for a few hundred yards and passed large patches of Spreading Dogbane in full bloom. They were being visited by the largest Bumblebees I've ever seen (third photo from top). There were also some large specimens of Snowy Thistle in full bloom. Last, I found another attractive bug of the Hemiptera order on some wilted daisies. I wondered if this was just a resting place or if they were actually extracting a bit of nutrition from the daisies. Saw no signs of dining, but they weren't particularly eager to fly away either. Later I'll post some of the attractive flowers we saw that had no bugs on them. There's still a Spring-like feel to the environment in some spots, even while the main areas around camp are drying out rapidly.

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