Sunday, August 6, 2017

Some Faunal Wanderings

 Internet speed at home this morning is better than usual, although still ridiculously slow.  I figured I'd load these photos while I had the chance, then tackle the stories buzzing around in my mind a few hours from now after getting caught up on my school work. This will be a companion (with bread) piece to my previous entry titled "Some Floral Wanderings."  Third and final post about my Friday nature hike will focus on trains and graffiti, with a few other random observations thrown in.  The immediate threat of having to evacuate due to the Minerva Fire has passed, so hopefully my brain will re-organize. (9:05 a.m.)
(12:10 p.m.) When wandering through a large patch of milkweeds, it would be easy to overlook any insect presence unless specifically looking for them.  The above photo, for instance, is taken from around 12" away from the bug after I barely spotted the bug from around 6 feet away.  And I was consciously searching for bugs.  I pestered this one a little so I could get a better view and identify it (below). Turns out it is the Small Milkweed Bug, Lygaeus kalmii.  I include the technical name here only because the so-called common name seems so common it might have been made up by a little kid and not be a name you'd find in a field guide for adults.  After seeing one of these, I began seriously looking for others, hoping to find a mating pair.  No such luck this time, but you may find other photos of this bug in my past posts.
The next photo is another example of a tiny spot of red that would easily be overlooked if we weren't specifically looking for bugs.  A tiny spot of red from around 10 feet away.  A slow breeze and the stalk of plant material swaying like a pendulum resulted in a slightly blurry image.
Then nearby was a milkweed with a pair of the same bug with a little more protection from the wind. This is the Convergent Ladybird Beetle. Click on the photo for a closer look and you can see the angled (converging) pair of white stripes in the "shoulder" region.  The plant is the Showy Milkweed, Asclepias speciosa, that has lost most of its flowers and many are sporting big seed pods, only a few of which have burst open in this area
Out in the open, windy field again, we saw lots of pairs of Monarch Butterflies appearing to be courting in mid-air, occasionally landing, only to take flight again when wind or the presence of a photographer spooked them.  This shot (below) was the best I could do from over 20 feet away without a telephoto lens.  Click on the photo and you can confirm that it is a Monarch.
Nicely sheltered from the wind (below) is either a Fence Lizard or a Sagebrush Lizard.  Both live in this area.  This is a young one and I did not catch it or examine it closely.  Just enjoyed seeing it.  About half the adult size, it was about the size of my index finger.
Back in the wind again, I got a slightly blurry photo of a Damsel Fly.  Wings held over the back, while its relatives, the Dragon Flies, land with their wings spread.
Finally, a handsome grasshopper.  Not a bad day for insects viewing.

No comments:

Post a Comment