Thursday, April 25, 2013

A new bug at the Arboretum

Black Stinkbug, Proxys punctulatus

After a tour this morning, I noticed this bug on some low plants beside the trail. As I got closer to take its picture with my phone, I noticed that it had a little white spot. I thought it was just debris or something, until I saw an identical bug nearby with an identical white spot. In a few seconds, I realized there were quite a few of these bugs. With the idea in my head that I would return tomorrow with the "good" camera, I at least took the time just now to identify this guy: Proxys punctulatus, the Black Stink Bug. And in doing so, I have found that it might just be a newcomer to these parts. BugGuide lists its range only as far west as Arizona. In a little further searching, I have still not found any mention of this bug in California. So maybe I need to look a little harder. Or maybe this is something new.

Like most other stinkbugs, it's a plant-sucker. Hopefully it will not turn out to be an invasive pest. I will try to get some more pictures of it soon.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A couple of moth-y nights in the desert

We spent the weekend in Yucca Valley, and I brought my blacklight. There was a good collection of moths to be found in the morning.












White Line Sphinx

With the exception of this last one, the White Lined Sphinx, I don't know the names of all these moths, although their shapes are familiar. Hopefully someday I'll find out their names.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Meeting a new friend leads me to vicarious blogging

In the midst of my current blogging slump, I have been getting out a bit and seeing some nature and finding some bugs. And I have been fortunate to meet a kindred spirit from the blogosphere. I found Cheryl's blog in 2011, just by chance, as I was looking to identify what turned out to be a furcula caterpillar. She lives in West Virginia, but has been out here staying with family for a while. We met face to face at the Arboretum, and since then we have gone on a couple of fun outings.

Like me, Cheryl uses a point and shoot camera, and the beauty and clarity of her images has made me realize that part of my blogging dissatisfaction is just because I'm unhappy with my cameras. (yeah, I'm blaming the cameras. again.) But seriously, my little old Canon is on its last legs. The light settings I have come to depend on are no longer working the way they should, and images often come out too light or too dark. And now there is a disconcerting grinding noise every time I turn it on and off, when the lens goes in and out. Then there is my iPhone camera. It's handy, it's spontaneous, and there are loads of cool apps that can enhance my pictures. And I have decided that it will never be my preferred camera for taking bug photos. It's just too hard to hold it. Focus, on little things up close is hit-and-miss. So I've decided that I really do need to get a new camera.

Anyway, last month, Cheryl and I visited the Tidepools at Little Corona Del Mar during a great minus tide. And while I was struggling nervously to keep my balance on the nearer rocks without dropping my iPhone in the water, she actually made it much further out, and got all the pictures I wish I could have, and more. You can see them here.

Then last week, we took a nature walk on the Claremont Hills Wilderness Trail. This place is less than an hour from my house and I'd never been there. Among the pictures Cheryl took that day were a shot of the Lorquin's Admiral butterfly we saw, a first for me, and a tiny baby rattlesnake that had just been run over by a bicycle.

This week, I have managed to get a few of my own images. I'll try to get them posted soon!

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