Spring is Here!
Days like these remind me what I love so much about the South...warm Springs exploding with life.
This edition of my series of Nature Walks is a big one. I took all of the following images over the past few days - some on my lunch break, some at the NIEHS campus, some at home, and some simply next to the road on my daily commute. So perhaps "Nature Walk" is a misnomer for this edition, but it suffices. Even while staring at the lake through my windows at work I am walking nature in my mind (unless I'm sectioning brains).
I've broken this post up into four parts due to the large number of images:
The images are highly compressed for bandwidth's sake, but you can click on the images for larger versions (and a few are much deserving of an extra click).
As always feel free to give me any species identifications where I have failed to do so or done so incorrectly.
The first thing I'd like to note is that if you haven't visited Bugguide.net before, you should check it out. It is an utterly indispensable online reference for everything arthropod. I almost never fail to identify insects using it (and it has quite a few experts and educated amateur entomologists always willing to help in identification).
My wife walked into the house white-faced a couple of days ago. She had gone into my shed for a tool. This is what she saw:
It's a Dolomedes tenebrosus spider. She's a lovely beast. She keeps my shed relatively bug-free.
I saw this next spider at the pond back behind my property today. It's a Six-Spotted Fishing Spider (Dolomedes triton). Interestingly, I learned that it is of the same genus as the monster above, though they are massively different in size, color, habit, and habitat. They both belong to the family of Fishing Spiders (though the first one does not live on water).
While turning over some leaves, I found this brilliantly colored orb-weaver, (I believe it's a Marbled Orbweaver (Araneus marmoreus)).
At lunch I struggled to capture an image of this stunning beauty of a Coleopteran. It would sit still as I focused, then dart about a foot forward in a blink - I would move, refocus - rinse and repeat... It's a Six-Spotted Tiger Beetle (Cicindela sexguttata). What luck! Two different species with "Six-spotted" in the common name (the beetle and the spider above).
Of course, the Azaleas are in full bloom at the homestead, and are of course covered in bees, flies, and butterflies.
Next is the Eastern Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa virginica). I know they are carpenter bees because they drill into my wood-paneled house. This is followed by hungry red-bellied woodpeckers drilling into said wood to retrieve the hymenopteran snacks. This is followed by me patching and repainting the woodpeckers' hack job. It's a semi-circle of life.
(Note: If you haven't seen it, you must check out my story from earlier today: The Carpenter Bee and Her Mate: A Heartwarming (and Dissapointing) Tale of Rescue.
A bee (Anthophila (Apoidea) - Bees) of unknown identity (I couldn't even peg it to a family - help please? It was about half the size of the carpenter bees.
And some Ants (Formicidae) on a flower. I didn't even realize they were there until I checked out the image on my computer. It was a tiny flower.
Finally, I found a nice specimen of what I believe is a Carolina Mantis (Stagmomantis carolina) ootheca (egg case).
See the rest of this Nature Walk: