20170702 Backyard   2 comments

After many years of interest in insect photography, I finally went ahead and bought a macro lens.  I got about fifteen minutes today to go into the backyard and see how it worked.  Initial impressions are very positive!  Even though about half way through the session I realized I had my Raynox filter on, reducing the depth of focus.

“Valets do it, surfer babes do it,

Even summertime Syrphidae do it.”

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From Tom Murray’s book, I would guess Toxomerus marginatus, based on the abdominal pattern.  I don’t know if you’re allowed to guess species based on that, though.

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An assassin bug nymph.  Perhaps Zelus luridus?

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Perhaps a katydid nymph (identified for me as genus Scudderia):

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Posted 2017-07-02 by gaurav1729 in Uncategorized

Some miscellaneous wildlife   1 comment

Here is a Platycryptus undatus on my house window.

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Aglossa caprealis, the stored grain moth.

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A groundhog in our backyard.  My son felt they were cool, not pests!

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Posted 2017-06-24 by gaurav1729 in Uncategorized

Bugshot Delaware   2 comments

I’ve been interested in insects for about ten years now.  Until a couple of months ago, I had never met anyone face to face with the same interests; until a couple of days ago, I had never gone on a walk with anyone else.  It’s been a completely solitary hobby, which is fine with me, but it was nice to finally have a change.

I took part in Bugshot Delaware, and had an amazing time.  The instructors, John Abbott, Alex Wild, and Piotr Naskrecki were incredibly knowledgeable and happy to share, and Kendra Abbott shared her own knowledge and took great care of the arrangements.  An old college friend Huzefa was there, too, which made it more special.

It took place at St. Jones Estuarian Reserve for a very good reason: this is the site of the great annual horseshoe crab spawning, on full moon nights in May and June (and apparently new moon nights, too, which I hadn’t realized).  Keep reading for more photos.

I’ve always been a sucker for photographs of flying insects.  John explained that 1/4000th of a second isn’t really fast enough to freeze most insects (high speed flash photography was later a major theme for the workshop).  However, I’m always happy to share my photos of insects in the air, no matter how crappy they are.  Heaven knows that each photo takes plenty of blood (from insect bites), sweat (from holding tough positions in the sun) and tears (from hours and hours of patience) to obtain.

Here’s a takeoff and a landing:

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Genus Toxomerus.

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Hover fly mouthparts look weird:

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The wheel position:

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The luckiest single aphid in St. Jones reserve, to walk away from this encounter unscathed:

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A millipede showing off:

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And now for the stars of the show, horseshoe crabs.  Magnificent, magnificent beasts, materializing from the rising surf, each one a memorial to all they have survived.

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Some more insects.  I fell in love with this gorgeous Dolichopodidae member.

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This was either the “Charlie Brown” beetle, or the “batman” beetle:

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Everyone knows that Salticids are the smartest, most charismatic and most endearing of arthropods, but not everyone knows that they can fly on magic carpets.

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A wasp and a beetle I need to look up when I get the time (watch this space for better IDs).

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A hairy click beetle dreaming of exploration and discovery.

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Finally, an absolutely gorgeous fly identified for me by Alex as a Sepsid fly.  Beautiful purple that I didn’t know could be found in the natural world, contrasted with the glossy green thorax.  Alex also pointed out that the wings are supposed to be very bright in the UV, which is why this one just happened to be sitting on a branch, displaying his wings, playing with his ball of spit.  Pretty much the equivalent of sitting on a motorcycle wearing a leather jacket and puffing some sort of leafy green.

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And here are the other photos for the sake of a better record of the arthropod life there:

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Some sort of sac spider?

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Rove beetles:

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Firefly trails:

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Posted 2017-06-12 by gaurav1729 in Uncategorized

20170528 King Phillip’s Rock   Leave a comment

For some reasons, this has always been the best place in Sharon for finding insects.  Today was no exception.

Crane fly, Tipulidae:

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Snipe fly, Rhagionidae, Rhagio mystaceous

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Crab spider, Thomisidae:

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Perhaps Soldier beetle (Podabrus or Rhagonycha).  Perhaps a leaf beetle.

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Brown marmorated stink bug?

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Detail of the characteristic hairs on the fourth leg of Leucauge venusta (orchard spider).

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Probably a rove beetle.

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Alderfly, perhaps genus Sialis.

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Linyphiidae?

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Jumping spider:

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I have no idea what this is.  Maybe a checkered beetle, Cleridae.

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No idea, really.

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Weevil:

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Assassin bug, Reduviidae.  Zelus luridus was suggested.DSC03758.JPG

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Treehopper:

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Suggested was a dance fly (Empididae), genus Rhamphomyia.

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Suggested as Muscoidea, Anthomyiidae.

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Sugested as Sepsidae, Black scavenger fly.

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A beautiful pair of vultures.  Here’s the interesting part:  I saw a vulture here, in pretty much the same exact location to the meter, about five years ago, and then saw a bobcat.  I thought it might have been following the bobcat to share in the kill.

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Posted 2017-05-28 by gaurav1729 in Uncategorized

20170527 Backyard   Leave a comment

I only had fifteen minutes to spare, so what better way than to drop into the backyard and look around?  DSC03606.JPG

 

Posted 2017-05-27 by gaurav1729 in Uncategorized

20170429 Moose Hill   Leave a comment

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Identified for me as a cuckoo bee, Nomada:

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I believe this is a spring azure butterfly (Celastrina ladon).  Beautiful color when the wings are open, but I couldn’t quite catch that.

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Posted 2017-04-30 by gaurav1729 in Uncategorized

20170401 Devil’s Rock   1 comment

This was an April Fool’s Day in several different ways.  The weather resolutely refused to acknowledge the spring season: pouring rain and then lots of snow.  Perfect weather for a walk in the woods!

Once I got to Devil’s Rock, I decided to try for a particular type of photograph — I really really wanted a photograph of a drop of water falling off a branch.  The drops  of water, on the other hand, were not particularly cooperative.   They either dropped before I was ready, or refused to drop, or timed the drop so that it didn’t come out right.  The one time everything else worked, of course, I had moved my camera out of the focus zone, so I got a beautifully composed shot of a bunch of blurs in flight.  At first I was annoyed, then enraged, and finally filled with grudging admiration for the perverseness of nature.

There are a few photos here that were reasonably successful; I also want to post my failure here, mostly because they took a lot of work to obtain, but also because they’re interesting failures.

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My favorite from this set:

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Some of the more conspicuous failures:

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Posted 2017-04-01 by gaurav1729 in Uncategorized