Sunday, June 30, 2019

HumBug: Bugs While You Wait

Posted By on Sun, Jun 30, 2019 at 2:00 PM

Vivid dancer. - PHOTO BY ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Photo by Anthony Westkamper
  • Vivid dancer.

When the lady at the tire store said it would be 45 minutes before my car was ready, I said, “Thank-you,” and headed for the door. On the way into the parking lot, I 'd spied a drainage ditch that meanders through Fortuna. It was choked with willows, Himalaya berry vines, Queen Anne's lace, and a host of other weeds too numerous to mention. I expected to see some insects and was not disappointed.


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Sunday, June 23, 2019

HumBug: Deadly Darlingtonias

Posted By on Sun, Jun 23, 2019 at 10:50 AM

The Bog of Doom off of State Route 199. - PHOTO BY ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Photo by Anthony Westkamper
  • The Bog of Doom off of State Route 199.

About two hours north of Eureka on State Route 199, a few miles past Gasquet, a small sign announces “Botanical Trail.” It's a very short drive on a good gravel road to the parking area. A little walk on the well-marked trail puts you in the middle of a Darlingtonia Bog. Here, where soggy conditions and serpentine soil discourage most plants, is the ideal habitat for California's signature carnivorous plant, the cobra plant (Darlingtonia californica), aka California pitcher plant, aka cobra lily. It's not truly a member of Liliaceae.


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Sunday, June 9, 2019

HumBug: Dining Out in June

Posted By on Sun, Jun 9, 2019 at 11:15 AM

Wear on this Anax junius' wings hint it's had an adventurous journey. - PHOTO BY ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Photo by Anthony Westkamper
  • Wear on this Anax junius' wings hint it's had an adventurous journey.

The fifth of June invited me to take my favorite stroll along the Van Duzen River. Things are at last heating up in the insect world.

While I was checking out some daisies, a shadow flitted past me. It was member of the well-known migratory dragonfly species, the common green darner (Anax junius). This is the first one of these I've seen this year. It is one of the largest dragonflies that frequents our area. Wear on its wings hints that it has travelled far. I reported the sighting to the Migratory Dragonfly Partnership, a citizen science project coordinated by the Xerces Society. The partnership collects sighting data on this and four other species of known migrators to better understand this behavior.

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Sunday, June 2, 2019

HumBug: A Walk in the Woods

Posted By on Sun, Jun 2, 2019 at 12:08 PM

Lorquin's admiral standing watch over his territory. - PHOTO BY ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Photo by Anthony Westkamper
  • Lorquin's admiral standing watch over his territory.

When I looked out today the sun was shining and the bugs were out. I set my computer and camera to acquire a stack of photos of a snail hunting beetle I'd collected on a late night walk, and out the door I went.

I managed to identify four different species of butterfly and the first Lorquin's admiral (Limenitis lorquini) of the season. They will set up a perch and defend their territory even rising to chase away birds. There were several painted ladies, an anglewing and a California hairstreak (Satyrium californica).

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