Wednesday, October 28, 2009

October 28, 2009

Wow – another sunny day. Must be the 4th one this month!!!

I took leaf photos today, some were similar to those I took last weekend, zooming and / or rotating the camera. But I really liked this image the best – handheld 200 mm lens at a very slow shutter speed in a strong wind.

Saw a few insects during a walk on campus: Monarch, Orange Sulphur, Great Spreadwing, Red-shouldered Bug, and Syrphid Flies. The woodchuck that lives in Peace Park was out today – always fun to see him.

Monday, October 19, 2009

October 19, 2009

Sunny and high of 76. A Sharp-shinned Hawk flew over the house just before we ate our lunch on the deck before leaving on a bike ride. I wanted to get all the way to Rocheport, but we didn't have time for the whole ride starting from Columbia so we drove to McBaine and rode to Rocheport and back.

We saw a few butterflies on the Katy Trail – 2 Cloudless Sulphurs, 1 Orange Sulphur, 3 Cabbage Whites (including one at home while putting the bikes on the car), 2 unidentified anglewings, 3 Monarchs, and about 6 woolly bears.

We also saw 5 snakes on the trail. Unfortunately, I ran over one. I was looking straight down at my tire going around a beetle on the trail and when I looked up I was just a couple of feet from the snake. All in the same second, I thought “Could that be a copperhead? If I slam on my brakes I'll probably end up stopped right on top of it. Not good if it is a copperhead.” The snake was about 2' long so I just aimed for as far to the tail as possible. I don't know what happened to the snake because I couldn't bring myself to turn around and look. I did watch the snake when I hit it and it didn't react. I've had snakes really move fast and get out from in front of my bike at the last minute and this one never moved. I had about convinced myself that someone else had hit and killed the snake before me, but on the way back to McBaine the snake had apparently moved off of the trail. I hope I hit far enough back on the tail that I didn't really hurt it. With more time to think about it (and a quick look through a field guide when we got home), I've decided it definitely wasn't a copperhead. Most likely a Prairie Kingsnake.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

October 18, 2009

Saw a few insects during a walk on campus; the high was 60 F this afternoon but it was 29 F when I got up this morning. A Variable Meadowhawk (Sympetrum corruptum) was flying through the white campus and a Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) was basking in the sunlight on a sidewalk in front of Jesse Hall. I also saw several Hymenoptera: honey bee (Apis mellifera), Dolichovespula sp., and Vespidae.

Yesterday I saw an Orange Sulphur (Colias eurytheme) flying across Providence from the MKT Trail.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

October 17, 2009
Not Insects

This is about fish. While eating breakfast this morning, I read “A Taste for Blood” by Natalie Angier in the October/November issue of National Wildlife.

I'm sure everyone has heard the story about the candiru – a catfish that supposedly enters the urethra of people in the water in the Amazon and Orinoco Rivers. While I had heard that it was an unusual occurrence, I didn't realize that only a single instance has ever been confirmed. (Although I guess that wasn't much comfort to the only person). What really surprised me was why the fish is supposedly confused. Candiru feed in the gills of larger catfish – which they find by the scent of urine: “fish, after all, urinate from their gills.”

Thursday, October 15, 2009

October 15, 2009

Yikes! Almost 4 months since I've updated my blog. Obviously, I've seen quite a few insects this summer that I haven't mentioned. This was pretty much a horrible summer, though. My Mom fell at home and fractured two vertebrae. She went to the hospital mid-summer and is now in skilled nursing doing rehab. She's walking much better and will hopefully head home sometime. Worrying about her reduced my productivity this summer.

Some of the best insect sightings from the summer were a Vesper Bluet (Enallagma vesperum, June 4, Boone County – a lifer! But it flew off before I was able to photograph it), Imperial Moth (Eacles imperialis, June 16, Boone County), Lilypad Forktails (Ischnura kellicotti, June 17, Boone County), male and female Io Moths (Automeris io, June 29, Dallas / Laclede Counties) , Saddleback Caterpillar (Acharia stimulea, August 23, Cape Girardeau County), and Citrine Forktails (Ischnura hastata, August 26, Dunklin County).

I'll try to post a few images of those soon. In the meantime, here's a shot from this week in my kitchen. I guess entomologists are weird – we've got a large population of fruit flies (Drosophila) that have been breeding in a jar of moth bait that's been sitting on our counter for about two weeks. But instead of getting rid of them, I've been taking photos.

There were a couple of cool events from the summer. I opened a studio at Orr Street Studios, so if you happen to be in Columbia, email me and I can meet you there sometime. I don't go to the studio every day, so if someone just shows up at the studio, more than likely I won't be there. I also recently signed a contract with Animals Animals stock photo agency and got an Honorable Mention in the Visions Photography Exhibit with my shot of a Bumble Bee chasing a Monarch from a flower.

For the next few weeks, I'll be hard at work to meet a December 1 deadline for the Missouri Department of Conservation field guide to butterflies and moths.