April 28th, 2007

woods, Elizabeth, camera, April

Another newcomer experiment...

If this works, you will see an image of a striking black and white beetle, head down, on the trunk of a young bald cypress.  I'm not using a "cut" because it's a smallish image.

Southwestern Ironclad Beetle Southwestern Ironclad Beetle

The southwestern ironclad beetle eats woody fungus, but is here on a young cypress.

woods, Elizabeth, camera, April

(no subject)

Aha.  Found the add-image icon.  Not at the top left, but on the toolbar, right in the middle.   This little guy, which is dusted with pollen from, of all things, wild onion flowers, is a four-spotted checkered beetle.  When I first saw it, I thought it was a lady beetle--little red beetle, black spots, easy mistake.  But it was the wrong shape, and then I saw those amazing reindeer-antler antennae.  Supposedly they're common on rose-family flowers in early spring--pyracantha, plums, etc--but I never saw one before in my life, and I've been photographing things on the wild plum flowers for several years.   Some people think wildlife management is all about deer, quail, and turkey--with an occasional songbird or fish or turtle--but if you don't have the invertebrates at the base of the pyramid, you don't have a healthy system.  There's a lot of stuff smaller and less obvious than this beetle, but a lot of it is hard to photograph...so I'm sticking to "above-ground and can be seen by human eyes" for now. 
woods, Elizabeth, camera, April

Going wild...

Just another wildlife image....here's a blue-winged teal pair.   They were canoodling (that's what it sounded like) in the privacy of an overhanging tree on the bank of the creek, and when I walked up, they fell into the water (loud splashes) and swam out into the sunlight. 

woods, Elizabeth, camera, April

Saturday's birding tour

It's all about timing...but the first part of the walk was more about butterflies and flowers (lots of butterflies, lots of flowers)  and some muddy crossings and how hot and muggy it was today.   I had chosen to go out with only the zoom lens, not the big birding lens, and no monopod, in hopes of guaranteeing the visitors something special.  (The best butterflies/birds/etc. try to show up when you don't have your ideal equipment along.)  So then we were slounging in our chairs at Owl Pavilion, enjoying a bit of a breeze and wondering if anything else interesting would show up...and FD saw it first.  A male painted bunting, in bright sunlight, on a rock.

A painted bunting is all the following: brilliant red, brilliant indigo/cobalt, brilliant lime green, purplish, and dark green.  All on a bird the size of a house sparrow, and the brightest colors right next to each other without any gradation at all. 

Naturally it flew away before any of us could get a camera on it.  But it hung around, teasing us with glimpses of brilliant color, and occasionally flying from the fencerow trees to the brushpile, like something out of a Disney cartoon.  But...I spread corn and sunflower seeds at the base of the brushpile, and near Owl Pavilion.  And eventually, the bird came into view.  Shutters clicked, mine among them.  Of course, I had the zoom cranked out to the full 300mm, and was trying to hand-hold it steady, on a small bird in thick grass.                                                         .