Monday, September 6, 2010

South Pond - 8.30.10 - Post 1

I feel the need to preface this post with the surrounding details.  I went to run a few errands in Lincoln Park, and it ended up being a bust - the things I needed to pick up weren't done.  So I walked the South Pond since I was there anyway.  When I got home I found that my little ferret, Magick, was in the process of passing away.  She was almost 8 years old - which is quite old for a ferret - and she'd had cancer for a year, so this wasn't unexpected.  However, even when expected, losing a beloved pet sucks rocks.  And while I am absolutely certain that me not taking this walk wouldn't have changed things for her, there's still a little bit of me that says, "Damn, I should have gone straight home."  You know?

So, I'll miss the little muppet.

Magick - January 1, 2003 - August 30, 2010

Anyway... this is what I saw while I was out.

Great Black Wasp on Bubbles
This is a Great Black Wasp.  Buried in the algae he's walking on just above his head is a skipper butterfly who apparently got sucked in.  What I was really interested in here was the bubbled surface of the pond algae that the bug is walking on.
Fiery Skipper on Marsh Thistle

 Fiery Skippers are having a great year at the South Pond.  There are hundreds of them.  Here's one on a Marsh Thistle.  At least I'm pretty sure it's Marsh Thistle.  It's next to the pond, but the maps I find usually say that the southern edge of the plant's range is southern Wisconsin.  Though, you know, Chicago isn't a ridiculous distance from southern Wisconsin, so it's not unreasonable that the park folks would choose to install it here.  ANYWAY... if you click on the picture to make it bigger, you can see the butterfly's proboscis as he feeds from the flower.

Argiope on Railing
I wish this guy had sat still just a little bit longer.  He's roughly half a cm from front foot to back end.  Really, really tiny.  And pretty hyper.  If you can't tell what he's on, it's the railing to the pond boardwalk.  I almost discovered him the hard way as I trailed my hand along the metal.  I think it's an Argiope - also called a Yellow Garden Spider.  I'll need to keep an eye out to see if I can get a better shot of one next time I'm out there.

I'm Ready for My Close Up
There was a gigantic flock of sparrows hanging out between the zoo gate and the part of the pond closest to the zoo.  If you got too close they came up off the ground and into a tree, but if you waited a minute, they'd all head back for the ground under the boardwalk.  I think it's a song sparrow (seriously, until I started looking, I had no idea how many kinds of sparrows there are out there.).  Anyway, I loved the way he turned his head up to look at me as if trying to decide if I was enough of a threat to bother him into moving.

Pondhawk on Broadleaf

An Eastern Pondhawk Dragonfly on a leaf over that same patch of bubbly algae.  I was playing with the bokeh a little.  I wanted an angle where I wouldn't get that dead leaf under the dragonfly's leaf, but my mobility was kind of limited on the boardwalk.  Still, I think the dragonfly pops out.

Upside-Down Tachnid
 I was ridiculously pleased with these shots of a Tachnid Fly on a Rattlesnake Master.  I mean, sure, it's a fly, but as pictures of flies go, I like these. :)
Rightside-Up Tachinid

Look how prominent his antennae look against the plant.  You can also see how he's holding on with all of his feet.


His eyes are so pronounced in this shot.  He's not looking at me head-on, but your eyes still go straight to his red ones.

Cuckoo in the Rattlesnake Master

Same kind of plant, different kind of bug.  Google tells me this is a Cuckoo Bumblebee.  And if you read up on these things, they're nasty!  They infiltrate hives of other bees and take over.

Fire Colored Beetle on Rattlesnake Master
Obviously the Rattlesnake Master was the plant of the day.  Here's a Fire Colored Beetle (something new :).  I was captivated by his antennae which never stopped moving.
Eye Catching Monarch

Monarchs, Monarchs everywhere.  I'm starting to see more Monarchs in Chicago.  I don't think I've taken a walk all summer where I haven't found at least one.  This shot is fun because it has this great 3D effect where the butterfly and the branch it's perched on seem to stick out from the leaves in the background.
Milkweed Unmunched

This is Butterfly Milkweed.  Not only are they a beautiful, bright flower, they attract the Brushfoot Butterflies and their larva.  This will be key in the next post. ;)

Up next... the amazing shots of the first caterpillar I found all year.  Go figure it was almost September before I could find one!

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