Saturday, June 13, 2015

A Dellinger's Dozen

 Here are some of the sights at Dellinger's Pond.  Some are easy to see.  Others, not so much.  It's fun to crawl around close to the ground and see what you can see.  The above flower, blooming in many places around American Valley at this time, is Farewell-to-Spring, Clarkia dudleyana.
 Here's an Ox-eye Daisy, without - I want to say - petals, but actually, it's without "ray flowers."  The remaining "disk flowers" make up the central portion of an intact daisy.  Due to its having two types of flowers, the family was once called the Compositae, but is now called Asteraceae.  The daisies around Dellinger's and along the roadside in the area are probably past their prime for this season except in places that still have surface water.
 Among my favorite bugs are the Longhorn Beetles, Family Cerambycidae.  The above mating pair are the Dimorphic (two forms) Flower Longhorn Beetle, Anastrangalia laetifica.  The male is black and the female is mostly red. The uninvited guest below the middle is a tiny black beetle that I often see on Brewer's Angelica, but I haven't identified it.  Looks a little like a Klamath Weed Beetle, but that's just a guess.
 This elegant Dragonfly is an Eight-spotted Skimmer, Libellula forensis.  A male.
 This one's a male Common Whitetail, Plathemis lydia (Perhaps the name of the entomologist's girlfriend?).
 Here they are sharing a stick.  I wondered if they were having any sort of rivalry.  Also, with those compound eyes, I wondered how, when they come in for a landing and see aroud a thousand sticks, they decide which one to land on.
 The Yellow Pond-lily, Nuphar lutea, is abundant in the pond.  A great hiding place for frogs and birds.  I often hear lots of critters here that I don't see.
 A Darner, probably of the genus Aeshna, of which there are many species.  I don't know how to tell them apart.
 The American Coot, AKA Mudhen, Fulica americana, seems always to be busy dredging the pond for food and clicking as he goes. 
 The Cardinal Meadowhawk, Sympetrum illotum, is a dazzlingly beautiful Dragonfly.  More skittish than the others, it evaded my camera many times before I got a decent photo of it.
 The Lorquin's Admiral, Limenitis lorquini, stopped for a drink in the wet mud.  This one looks nearly identical to the more common California Sister.  The latter has a thin black border at the outer edge of each orange wingtip.
I call this photo "Ready for Takeoff."  It's a Cerambycid beetle (Longhorn Beetle family) that I could not identify.
Some days at Dellinger's, I just take notes on colors, smells, sounds, and textures.  Occasionally tastes.  Sometimes my notes fuel story-telling of a not particularly scientific kind.  At other times, scientific questions come to mind.  Like what do insects with compound eyes actually see?  Is there a way for us to know?  We can certainly figure out how their lenses work, but to figure out how their brains interpret the signals is another matter.
Every time I visit, I see something different.  It's a great way to keep an old brain working.

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