Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Something's Bugging Me about This Post - Willowbrook WC - 6.16.11, post 1

So I mentioned in my last post that I was heading off to Willowbrook Wildlife Center again, this time as part of a volunteer work crew.  It was a great experience, and the brief walk I took through the center afterwards yielded a lot of great shots, but first I received some bad news.

My grebe died.  They said that at first he seemed to be doing well and eating on his own, but about a month after he was brought in something compromised his lungs and they were unable to save him.  I know they did everything they could; they're a remarkable facility, but I'm still kind of bummed.

Anyway, there were five people on our work crew and our job was to clear out a couple of invasive species in a section of the prairie.  We were pulling out Honeysuckle and Buckthorn and there was a *ton* of it.  In three hours we cleared about one-hundred square feet.  That doesn't sound like a lot for fifteen man-hours, but it was hot and the work was pretty intense.  We made a roughly ten feet deep, by six feet wide by six feet tall pile of brush to be burned.

There were some phenomenal insects and spiders unearthed in doing this, and the best way to get them at the time was to shoot them on my phone, so I did.  Of course the very next day, before I'd had a chance to move any of the shots, my card corrupted and I lost the pictures.  Oh well.

It was about 85* F out there and we'd been working pretty hard (and dragging up All The Pollen Ever!) and I was in jeans and work boots, so I didn't stay too long to get pictures afterwards.  I walked around the pond as far as I could go (they have a section blocked off) and did a bit on the trails.  But even in the hour and a half or so I was out there, there was a lot of cold-blooded critter activity.

In fact, I'm going from pretty much an all-bird blog, to an all-bug blog!  Mostly, but not entirely.  Well, entirely for this post.

This shot was an accident.  I was actually trying to get the wildflower and the bee flew in.  It's a bumblebee, of that I'm sure.  ProjectNoah tells me it's a Megachilid bee, probably Osmia.

This is a Six-Spotted Tiger Beetle.  He's an amazing iridescent green with a white face.  He's pretty small, maybe two centimeters long?

 Tiny dragonfly is tiny!  This is a Calico Pennant.  Lovely little bug with little hearts on their tails.  But small, for dragonflies. I'd say their bodies are between 1/3 and 1/2 the size of the 'normal' dragonflies I usually see like the Pondhawks or Saddlebags.

And for this particular day, they were also the most calm and easiest to shoot.

I have to say, these are the most ironic dragonflies for me.  They're called "Common Whitetails", but I rarely see them.  I saw one a the North Pond last year and there was only a few of them here.  Not so common!
Okay, photographically lously, but at least you can see the White when it's all spread out.  The big splotches on the wings and the light body make them pretty easy to recognize, even in flight.

This is a very small grasshopper, only 3 or 4 cm long.  I'm still trying to find out what kind he is.  Anyone have an idea?
A new dragonfly!  This is a Jade Clubtail.  They're significantly different than the other green dragonflies I've seen before.  I knew right away that this was something new.

They like to perch on the lily pads which is unusual.  If you look through most of my dragonfly shots, you'll notice that they usually like to land on sticks, reeds and grasses that are sticking up out of the water.

I believe this is an Eastern Comma.  It's a Comma of some sort, but because I couldn't get a good shot of her with her wings open, I'm not one-hundred percent sure which one it is.


This was the best shot I could get of the tops of the wings.  Not much help.

Okay, that's eleven shots.  Enough for one post.  More bugs and a few other critters and plants, later.

So let's see... the comma, the jade, the calico, and the tiger beetle.  Four new named species.  39 total of my 50.

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