The Dry Canyon Trail in Redmond, Oregon, is one of my favorite places to wander around, looking for the cool critters this world has to offer.
Generally, I'll walk through to the weeds, looking on the plants as I pass by. Anything which looks out of place, I'll check out and if it's a critter, I start shooting.
In the years I have been doing this, I have learned a lot about the behavior patterns of many of the critters in the canyon...at least I thought I had learned a lot about their behavior.
Last Sunday (Aug. 17) I learned something new about two different species. But first, let me set the scene. It was midday and the sky was partly cloudy. The high sun was shining bright and the temperature at the airport at the time was 103. In the canyon, it was probably 105 or 106.
I had been wandering the canyon for about two hours and having a great time. Every now and then, I'd stop, get my water bottle (I always fill a plastic bottle with water and freeze it the night before I go out) and take nice cold, drink from it, then shove it back in the cargo pocket on my pants.
At one point, I had wandered near a lava outcrop hoping to see something, when I stopped for a drink. Now, remember, the canyon area is called the "dry" canyon for a reason...there's no water in it. After I had refreshed my thirst and as I was putting the bottle back in my pocket, something landed on the right side of my beard, just below my lower lip. For a moment, I didn't know what was happening. Then their was a slight pain in the area and I swiped my hand across the spot. When I did, a bug flew to a sage plant nearby and the back of my hand felt the wetness of a drop of water which was in my beard. I immediately lifted my camera and got this shot of a Blister Beetle, a first for me.
I have seen similar critters in the area, but nothing this big (it was about an inch and half long). Thrilled I had gotten a new species of something, I continued my walk-about. After not finding anything on the rocky outcrop, I continued on towards an area with a number of Juniper trees.
After about ten minutes, I stopped, retrieved my bottle of ice water and lifted it to my lips. As I pulled the bottle away from my mouth, a drop of water fell and landed on my shirt just to the left of center on my chest and below my breast. The drop no more than landed on the shirt when something slammed into my chest, right on the spot of water. I looked down and there was a Robber Fly sitting there (see my previous CCM post for an image of a Robber Fly). I brushed him away and as I did, felt some pain in the area.
I lifted my shirt to check out the area and noticed a spot of blood. I wiped it away and there was a small hole in my chest, with a reddened area surrounding it. I knew immediately, the hole was caused by the proboscis of the fly. The proboscis is the feeding tube for most insects. On the Robber Fly it is a stiff tube they insert in their meal and suck out the liquid. I guess the fly, like the beetle, needed water in the heat and probably could smell or detect the water on my lip and my shirt and went for it. I doubt it was coincidence that both critters hit me where water was.
Nothing like that has happened to me before and I doubt it will again. But it was still cool and still an interesting way to learn something new about the critter I cross paths with. 8v)
But before I close this milestone Camera Critter Meme, I've got one more image to show. A NTM (new-to-me) bee. I believe it is a Resin Bee of the Megachile species. I almost didn't capture this beauty, as I saw it from a distance on a sage brush with a number of other insects and assumed it was a common Honey Bee. But just as I was about to turn away, a voice in my head said, "Shoot it Bear." So I did...and I am glad I did. Just look at those eyes!