Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Hello July!

 It seems too hot to fly, but some things are still flying.  It's so hot here today that I'm sure some airplanes have to watch their weight or they'll never lift off.  I wonder if flying insects detect the difference in air density from early morning to mid-afternoon.  Another factor, of course, is the effect of ambient temperature on their metabolism.  Early this morning I noticed around 50 bumblebees on the small patch of lavender in our front yard.  It was a cool 45-ish, and they were all immobile, apparently having spent the night there.  I was able to pick up a few of them and roll them around in my hand.  They hardly moved.  I ran some errands and when I got back around 11:00, the bees were very active.  I could hear them buzzing from 50 feet away. The above photo of a Bumblebee hovering by a stalk of Mullein was taken around 9:00 yesterday morning.  It was in a spot that receives early morning sun as well as being adjacent to the dark pavement that absorbs the sun's energy.
 On the pathway leading up to the main campus, the daisies are on the wane, but the Longhorn Beetles are getting the last bit of available nutrition from them.  Maybe they'll move to a higher altitude in order to extend their season.
 I took a walk past Oakland Camp toward Gilson Creek yesterday afternoon.  It was ridiculously hot.  No sign of animal life unless I looked in the shade.  The grasshopper above was hiding out in the small amount of shade case by the Narrow-leaf Milkweed.  The heat on my back was intense as I bent over to take photos, but I'll bet the micro-environment where the grasshopper hid was 20 degrees cooler.
 This grand old Snowy Thistle has been occupying the same spot at the edge of the road for several years.  Do you see the UFO?  Upper left of the photo.  Click on it for a closer view.
 On the way to Oakland Camp I stopped by what remains of my Chandler Road milkweed spot and got a few interesting shots of the Red Milkweed Beetle.  It was trying to hide in the shade, but I disturbed it a bit to get photos of it in the sun.  It then quickly retreated to the shade.  They'll soon be underground dwellers again until next summer.

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