holyschist: Image of a medieval crocodile from Herodotus, eating a person, with the caption "om nom nom" (Default)
[personal profile] holyschist
A few things I've found especially exciting in explorations this spring and summer, all in Colorado.

Spotted coralroot is a type of parasitic orchids. Coralroots wrap themselves around the roots of trees, and get food from symbiotic fungi rather than photosynthesizing.

Spotted Coralroot (Corallorhiza maculata)

More plants (2 photos) )

Insects: dragonflies, beetles, a leafhopper, and a praying mantis (8 photos) )

And under a separate cut, a green-eyed wasp and a jumping spider (2 photos) )
holyschist: Image of a medieval crocodile from Herodotus, eating a person, with the caption "om nom nom" (Default)
[personal profile] holyschist
And then I will stop spamming the comm! I am just enjoying having all these cooperative odonates right out my back door.

The spreadwings were still around today, but there were also some darners and a bunch of Striped Meadowhawks (Sympetrum pallipes), handily enough one of the meadowhawk species that can sometimes be confidently identified without capturing them.

2 photos below cut )

Although they are hard to identify, meadowhawks are one of my favorite groups of odonates--they are so bright and beautiful! These were pretty fierce, too--despite being less than half the size of the darner (and hence possibly a potential meal for the darner), a few of them would chase the darner around, harassing it.

More photos (and a bad shot of that frustrating darner) at my journal.
holyschist: Image of a medieval crocodile from Herodotus, eating a person, with the caption "om nom nom" (Default)
[personal profile] holyschist
It's pretty much the tail end of the dragonfly and damselfly season here in Colorado, but I'm glad I thought to seriously check the creek behind my apartment. There are a bunch of dragonflies--meadowhawks, darners, and probably some skimmers--that I haven't been able to get a good look at, much less photographs of, but the Great Spreadwings (Archilestes grandis) are very cooperative. I'm still getting the hang of photographing damselflies (their eyes are more difficult to focus on than big dragonfly eyes), and still wishing I had a macro lens, but until then, at least the Great Spreadwing is pretty big and easy to photograph with a long lens.

Here's a male:

1 photo below the cut )

Five more photos at my journal, including females and possibly an immature male.

I really need to learn to net and handle odonates so I can identify them better--and take pictures of some of the trickier species.
holyschist: Icon of a pomegranate split open to show sees (food)
[personal profile] holyschist
Although this is supposedly a "common" water bird in my area, I've only seen three so far, and only in the last year: the double-crested cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus). Today I got to observe a pair of them fishing for quite a while! It was extremely exciting. They are such beautiful birds--I love their weird turquoise eyes.

Double-crested cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus)

More cormorants and some other birds at my journal.
holyschist: Image of a medieval crocodile from Herodotus, eating a person, with the caption "om nom nom" (Default)
[personal profile] holyschist
I went on a walk the other day from my apartment to a nearby vacant lot/prairie dog colony. I live in Colorado, in the U.S.--we're pretty solidly in spring now, which means the plants have leafed out and it's pretty nice out, except when it snows or drizzles cold rain all day or both.

I didn't see anything particularly surprising on this walk, but I did see all kinds of lovely nature. A friend pointed out that the prairie dog colony is great snake habitat, so I'm going to have to keep an eye out for snakes next time! I love snakes.

This cottontail rabbit (probably a desert cottontail, Sylvilagus audubonii) immediately dropped into this amazing imitation of a perfectly still, inedible rock when it saw us. As soon as I looked away and back, it was gone.

Cottontail rabbit (Sylvilagus sp.)

The whole story and more photos at my journal.

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