Pin It
Favorite

HumBug: By the River and Under the Sand 

click to enlarge A variegated meadowhawk dragonfly. - PHOTO BY ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Photo by Anthony Westkamper
  • A variegated meadowhawk dragonfly.

Here we are, middle of winter and once again I'm finding variegated meadowhawk dragonflies along the Van Duzen River, where I regularly walk. Although this is a small dragonfly, it is the largest insect I see flying this time of year. I find them perched on rocks in open sections of river bar, often 20 or 30 feet from the water. These guys are a very common migratory species. I report my sightings to the Migratory Dragonfly Partnership in a citizen science effort to better understand the movements of certain kinds of dragonflies.
Today I saw several small bees or wasps flying within an inch of the ground in zig-zag patterns, occasionally chasing each other in apparent territorial disputes. One was persistently digging into a cleat mark from an ATV tire.
click to enlarge Tiny bee digging into a tire track, trying to find her nest. - PHOTO BY ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Photo by Anthony Westkamper
  • Tiny bee digging into a tire track, trying to find her nest.

The impressively jawed tiger beetles, Steniolia and Bembix wasps (both dedicated flyhunters), and pygmy grasshoppers all lay their eggs in the sand to overwinter and emerge in the spring.
click to enlarge Bembix wasp digging in the sand. - PHOTO BY ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Photo by Anthony Westkamper
  • Bembix wasp digging in the sand.
click to enlarge Stentiolia sand wasp digs next while carrying fly to feed to her young. You can see the fly's wings sticking out behind her abdomen. - PHOTO BY ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Photo by Anthony Westkamper
  • Stentiolia sand wasp digs next while carrying fly to feed to her young. You can see the fly's wings sticking out behind her abdomen.

I used to think doing doughnuts and making rooster tails was harmless fun because, I thought, “you can't hurt sand." Well, there is really a lot going on underground that can be destroyed by motorized mayhem. So please, stay on the roads and give the denizens of the dunes a break.

click to enlarge River bar sand in foreground torn up by ATVs. - PHOTO BY ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Photo by Anthony Westkamper
  • River bar sand in foreground torn up by ATVs.

Pin It
Favorite

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

more from the author

Latest in HumBug

Readers also liked…

© 2018 North Coast Journal

Website powered by Foundation