Sunday, July 21, 2013

Snake in the (sort of) Grass.

Technically, it was in the irises... I was sitting on my deck last week, braving the bugs and heat, when the iris leaves next to the front walk started waving in the dead-calm air. So I watched intently to see what would meander out of the garden and was rewarded with great views of this little neighbor of mine. This is only my second sighting of Rough Green Snake in the fifteen years I've had the property. And it was in nearly the same location; the first one I found was coming up the steps I was sitting on to take some of these photos.

Find the snake! (Click photo to bigify.)
Hint: it isn't in focus.

This species is relatively small, only a couple of feet long
and maybe as fat around as a "safety" crayon at the widest point...

Snake in goldenrod.

Vivid demonstration of why some butterfly caterpillars
(especially swallowtails) mimic snake eyes...

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Funky Fly.

Couldn't resist shooting this thing. It's a good size beastie, maybe a bit more than a half an inch. The bristle-ly back was a bit disturbing, but look at that face!!! Might be another Tachinid fly. (Sooo many insects sometimes makes ID problematic. And sometimes it's only entomologists who care to name them all...)

(I'm sure I saw that funny little schnoz moving in and out. Weird...)

Monday, July 8, 2013

Shoo, fly...

No, wait--you don't buzz annoyingly or bite. You can stay.

Crane Fly. (Sorry, I gave up trying to get it to species.)
What's with the funny little balls-on-sticks things on its abdomen?*

Long-legged fly. These are even better looking in profile. Fly on stilts!

I managed to ID this gorgeous itty bitty to the Tachinidae family and then gave up.
(And what's with the funny little plates sticking out of its abdomen...?*)

* Vestigal wings. Most flying insects have four arranged in two pairs; flies have just two (one pair). That's why they are in the family Diptera - "two wings". See, three years of Latin in high school actually did pay off! 

Friday, July 5, 2013

Not to be seen for another 17 years!

Or 13, or whatever year and whatever "brood" it might be...

Periodic Cicadas from Belleplain State Forest. I was about a week "late" for the full effect, but as it was it was pretty impressive. A good strong humming background noise, groups of insects on tree branches, and enough flying around to have a few land on me.

(Why you should have a quick release plate on your tripod.)

Well, hello there...

(Smaller than the yearly cicadas, and completely different coloration.)