01 July 2009

Various photos

young Chuck-will's-widow (Caprimulgus carolinensis)
Very young.
I flushed up a group of 4 of these Nightjars on a property I was working on in Palo Pinto County, TX; two adults and two of these extremely small juveniles. Chucks are North America's largest member of the Genus Caprimulgus with adults measuring in at about a foot long. These two juvies may have been 6 inches, eyes closed, and check out the fluffy down feathers this pictured kid is still sporting. Thankfully the adults didn't fly too far from the explosion out of the leaf litter. I quickly let them be.

This was about the same time Heidi radioed me that she was observing an adult male Golden-cheeked Warbler (Dendrioca chrysoparia) feeding a fledgling Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater) while a young hatch-year Golden-cheeked was foraging for its tiny, short-tailed self, gleaning among the lichen on a nearby branch. We were seriously rooting for that little guy.
Way to go, Pops.

(Hemileuca maia) larva
This kid, should certain things work out, will grow up to a Buck Moth. A cool "silkmoth" family member that generally flies beginning in the fall. This picture was taken in Rocksprings, TX. It wasn't too amused with me. I took some pics and then ran away in terror.. Let it know that the "ferocious" defensive posture still works.
The spines of H. maia larva are actually hollow conduits for underlying poison glands. Contact could cause burning sensation, that to some may intensify akin to a bee sting.
But seriously, we got the cushy spot in the ol' food chain. Just tell little Johnny not to lick the caterpillars.
If one were to fall off an oak (the hostplant of Buck Moths) and down your shirt then mayhaps you just haven't been livin' right and need to check the karma.

American Rubyspot (Hetaerina americana)
Heidi and I were on a portion of the South Llano River, near the town of Junction, Texas. Snooping around for butterflies and moths leads one to come face-to-frons with the insect order Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies). We have enjoyed learning more about the species we have come across....and can identify.
Anyhow, American Rubyspot is a distinctive species found across much of the U.S. One became the photo interest of ours which led to a series of interesting stills we captured.

Along that same stretch of the southern fork of the Llano River we happened upon a "puddle party" of Abaeis nicippe or Sleepy Orange. Dampened soil, puddles, ... mud are sometimes host scores of butterfly species that take in salts and minerals found. Sleepy Orange is a beautiful (albeit common in the southern half of the U.S.)species that flies almost year-round in the warmest regions of its range.
Heidi ended up capturing some nice photos of these. They pretty much peaced out when I lowered myself onto the mud.
There were perhaps 20 or so.

1 comment:

  1. Very cool. I have a soft spot in my heart for Caprimulgids and young fuzzy ones are even better.