Monday, March 28, 2005

Photos of bugs in Death Valley

Well, mostly bugs, anyway!

Painted lady migration in progress

I convinced Jerry to come with me to watch the butterflies migrating and try to take some pictures. I was hoping to be able to take a picture of a "swarm" of them, but it proved to be too difficult. (too small, too fast- moving, etc.) The area where we were looking had dense vegetation, and lots of the butterflies were feeding on the flowers, but not in close enough proximity to eachother to show the quantity. (But there were still a lot!)

So many butterflies, it made the news.

NPR : Painted Lady Butterflies Take Flight in Rare Migration

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Thursday, March 17, 2005

This article has my picture in it

With some difficulty, I have added an image link to the Fullerton Arboreum. (see Links to the right). While I was searching around for the arboretum logo, I found this article from a couple years ago. It does not mention me by name, but that's me in the second picture, showing a walking stick to a kid.

Cal State Fullerton Daily Titan Online: NEWS

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

The Biology classess at the local high schools around here require the kids to make insect collections. Brice has asked me to take him and a group of friends out on an insect hunt. For the most part, I think the boys have long been embarrassed by my passion for bugs, so I'm gratified that Brice actually wants me to do this. I have permission to borrow a bunch of nets from the arboretum for the kids to use, but we will most likely hit one of the local trails instead of the aboretum grounds, so their plant collections are not trampled by eager insect collectors.

March Mantidness!!

Yesterday, while making another attempt at pulling some of the over-abundant weeds in my yard, I found a hatchling mantis. I have never seen one this early in the year! Last year they hatched in mid-April, and I thought that was early. I resisted the urge to capture him, (other than in photo form, of course.)

But my second, and by far wackier mantid moment of the day came a little later at the meeting of the arboretum nature guides. Gloria, one of my fellow guides, had taken a close-up of one of my beautiful females last fall. I had forgotten all about it. Then, at Christmas, she had me pose as if I were riding a giant mantis, (which I also fogot all about,) with the intention of making this very picture. Ever since I was little, I've had this fantasy about having a giant pet praying mantis that I could ride like a horse. Of course, I could never work out how I would feed such a beast, not to mention avoid being eaten myself, but hey, that's why they call it a fantasy.

Yesterday, Gloria surprised me with this hilarious picture, made all the more surreal because the mantis on which I am riding is also perched on my own hand! Usually, I am unable to tolerate looking at pictures of myself, much less sharing them, but this one is so funny I will make an exception.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Right in my front yard...

Under this basket today, I found....

a trio of salamanders!

Friday, March 11, 2005

Wandering and pondering

My mother in law always used to make comments about other peoples' clothing, or the fabrics they were made from. She would say things like, "That's such a pretty fabric." or "That woman's sweater is nice, but I could never wear that style." She made similar observations about hairstyles. Although I never said anything out loud, I was often annoyed by her little remarks because she did it so often, and besides, I could care less about fashion.

Then, some time ago I realized that my own observational habits are not only as frequent as hers were, they include subjects that most people either don't notice at all or wouldn't want to look at anyway. How could I fault her for being obsessed with hats and hemlines when my gaze is so easily drawn to a leafy bush that's obviously infested with something.

This is just part of a field of oxalis/clover/weeds growing on the edge of Craig Park. Something is devouring the leaves. The only thing I can find are what I think are Syrphid fly larvae, but I thought they ate aphids. (and aphids don't eat holes in leaves like this.)

If you click to enlarge this picture, you can see the larvae in the center.
(Who really does care, anyway.)

I am still trying to find tadpoles in the local waters; still not finding any. But at least I brought my camera with me this time, and found a few things to look at that made the trek worthwhile.

There were some poppies growing among the weeds.

This guy is just about ready to shed his cap.

I couldn't get very close to this lizard for fear of scaring him away, but I had to try to get a shot of him. The sun had just come out (late morning fog burn-off) and he was staking out a territory for himself.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

I think I saw one of these:

Common Conehead - Neoconocephalus - BugGuide.Net

It was very skittish. It flew away before I could take a picture or get it in my net. I have never seen a katydid like this before.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Recent Sightings

This harvestman was on the wall outside.

I collected a few Painted Lady caterpillars for a teacher friend of mine.

A pretty Anise Swallowtail
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