Sunday, June 2, 2019

HumBug: A Walk in the Woods

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

click to enlarge 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).

click to enlarge California hairstreak apparently feeding on clover. - PHOTO BY ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Photo by Anthony Westkamper
  • California hairstreak apparently feeding on clover.
The latter, being a small butterfly it is always best to get as close as possible so, I started my stalk from a distance snapping shots as I slowly approached, stealthy as a snake. It was only when I decided to get a different angle did I realize it was dead, caught by a flower spider hiding in the globe of white clover blossoms. These spiders were nearly everywhere I looked today.
click to enlarge The spider dropped the butterfly when I approached. She recovered her prize when I withdrew. - PHOTO BY ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Photo by Anthony Westkamper
  • The spider dropped the butterfly when I approached. She recovered her prize when I withdrew.
There were several varieties of bee about, including several leaf cutters, (family Megachilidae). The females of this family carry pollen on special hairs on the underside of their abdomen. Most other bees carry food for their babies on their hind legs.
click to enlarge Leaf cutter bee. Note where she carries pollen for her brood. - PHOTO BY ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Photo by Anthony Westkamper
  • Leaf cutter bee. Note where she carries pollen for her brood.
I got a few photos of one of my favorite wasps, the potter wasp. (family Eumenes) as it fueled up at a convenient daisy.
click to enlarge Potter wasp fuels up as a tiny spider looks on. - PHOTO BY ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Photo by Anthony Westkamper
  • Potter wasp fuels up as a tiny spider looks on.
I also fount an insect new to me...Pselliopus spinicollis (there is no common name listed and please don't ask me how to pronounce it) which is an assassin bug (family Reduviidae).
click to enlarge Assassin bug. - PHOTO BY ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Photo by Anthony Westkamper
  • Assassin bug.
After making nearly every rookie mistake there is, I did finally manage to get a decent shot of the dead beetle.

click to enlarge A dozen tries and 196 images blended into one. A portrait of a snail hunting beetle. - PHOTO BY ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Photo by Anthony Westkamper
  • A dozen tries and 196 images blended into one. A portrait of a snail hunting beetle.
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