Monday, September 22, 2008

Plants, Bugs, Birds, and Butterflies

Or what more can you ask for in one morning?

Last Saturday's photography class at the Wildflower Center was wonderful opportunity to combine so many of my interests.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I rented a tripod for the day and was happy to test it out and learn how it could help me. Unfortunately, it weighed more than my dog, and I found it difficult to reposition to catch any quick actions.

Sometimes, if I was set up and focused on a plant, and lucked out when the birds and insects arrived. (See if you can find the hummingbird in the above picture.)

And sometimes I still couldn't quite get the insect in focus.

Tons of butterflies buzzed about the Gregg's mistflower, and I got many chances to catch a queen.

You can tell a queen from a monarch butterfly by the venation on the top of the wings. Monarchs have more veins running on the top of the wings.

Really, this picture was just an excuse to be able to repeat Mike Quinn's butterfly joke: Even in Texas, it's legal to have male and female Queens.

Mike, one of the speakers at my entomology training, keeps track of the insects he finds in his yard in Austin. If you are looking to identify what's in your yard, you might want to check it out.

I wasn't the only photographer excited to see this zipper spider, also known as a yellow garden spider. Another speaker at entomology training told the story of an elderly lady who had died on her front porch. The entomologists were called in because someone thought that the zipper, or zigzag, ribbon of the spider web above the woman's head spelled out MURDER.

Apparently, the woman's death was not necessarily from natural causes, but murder was not confirmed.

As much as I loved the snow on the prairie I was really trying to get a close-up of this bug so I could identify it. I wasn't sure if the Wildflower Center would approve of my taking insect specimens.

I still haven't quite been able to identify this bug. I never got a really good angle on it, but I'm still checking.

Any ideas?


  1. Your photography class is paying off. Some very nice shots and thanks for the bug link.

  2. I think your unknown bug is actually a little wasp with it's wings folded down. I've seen these before waiting and hardly moving and other times fidgeting around rapidly.