Thursday, August 19, 2010

I'll Take Potpourri for $400, Alex!

We had an uneventful trip back to Tucson last night. Nice flight - we even had an empty seat between us to spread out, rare these days! We spent the trip reading - Melinda with a mystery she picked up, I'm on volume 2 of the Stieg Larsson trilogy. Best of all, we got in 20 minutes early... The cats all seemed to recognize us and Annie was overjoyed to be home, though not to see the other cats!

Tonight's post includes my favorite images of the trip that haven't made it to the blog yet... Starting off was a pretty view we saw after a family dinner in Clinton, Iowa. Venus, Mars, Saturn and Mercury made a nice conjunction in the twilight sky this last month, but only Venus is visible in this early-twilight shot with the Clinton County Courthouse in the foreground.

The bulk of the shots are from my frequent walks through the woods either at the Riverwoods Christian Center where we live or the local forest preserve. First up is an uncommon sight while walking through the area - a lone white tail fawn. It is always a good idea to take careful note of your surroundings - this fellow was visible only about 30 yards from the bike trail at Tekakwitha Forest Preserve. While keeping a wary eye on me he remembered what his momma taught him - you are less obvious when you stay still.

I always keep a close watch on the milkweed plants, quite numerous along roadsides and in open prairie. They are a common food source for a variety of insects, including Monarch butterflies and the Milkweed Bugs shown here. These are the nymph versions of the bugs, before they develop their wings. The pod was just swarming with a couple sizes of nymphs. The singular little fellow was posing for me along a leaf edge in the morning sun, so was easy to get a sharp image of him, swarming mosquitoes notwithstanding...

Back down at the bike trail along the woods, the spot of green along a tree branch caught my attention - a Katydid. Related to crickets and grasshoppers, they are identified by their long antennae. I don't recall ever seeing one before, though likely because I wasn't paying attention!

The accompanying shot is a damselfly, I believe a Blue-Fronted Damselfly.... There were a lot of them flitting about, but their eyes provide great vision and they are pretty shy. After trying to get close enough to see anything of them, I was glad to eventually get this photo!

And finally, a spectacular caterpillar was captured, though my Internet researcher to ID it is working tonight, so hope to get it's name soon...  (From Melinda:  I'm the aforementioned Internet researcher and it is a white-marked tussock moth caterpillar .)

We had clear skies most of the flight to Tucson, though the sun set about halfway back. I bugged Melinda, who had the window seat, to interrupt her reading to grab some shots and stereo pairs. Shown here in deep twilight is Albuquerque under a scattered cloud cover. The color contrast was quite striking, and with nearly quarter second exposures, this one was the only one of a half dozen that wasn't blurred.

It was a great trip and I was able to score some nice (in my opinion) photos. After going there for years I'm still seeing new stuff every time I go out. I guess that is a good thing - more reasons to go back!

1 comment:

David A. Harvey said...

Sweet! But remember - flowers and bugs . . . :-)