Saturday, August 23, 2008

Camera Critter Meme #20

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!

23 comments:

Tammy said...

I can never get good close up shots of insects. Yours are fab!

Lapa37 said...

Wow what a story it's amazing how they sensed the water as soon as it hit you. The picture of the bee is awesome.The beetle is kind of yucky.

Juliana RW said...

gorgeous shots

My CC : in here Thanks

bobbie said...

A beetle - a bee - and a fly - oh my! It must be hard to survive in that kind of environment. I cannot imagine walking around anywhere in 103 degree heat!

Carletta said...

That beetle has a huge body for such a little head.
I loved reading your adventure.
The eyes on the bee are really something indeed.

Nice post!

Ladynred said...

That's beautiful beetle and bees! That's the same kind of bee that comes around my garden!
For the Love of Pets

Rhea said...

That blister beetle is so unique looking!! I wish you'd gotten a photo of the robber fly...he robbed you of blood, huh?! Very neat setting and descriptions, I enjoyed reading it today. Thanks!

Faye Pekas said...

What an interesting story. Sounds like you need some bug repellent before you go out in that area again. I see bugs that look like that too but not that big.

My critter is here

Ramblings of a Villas Girl said...

Hi! I am not a bug person, but the story and the photos were very interesting. The bee though is cool looking.

Rambling Woods said...

Great macros of the insects...

Cátia said...

wonderful pictures!

Kelly said...

Theat beetle is huge! Great shots of all of them! Well done!!!

AppleDebbie said...

Those are incredible close-up shots of the insects. I enjoyed reading the story of how they sensed the water drops on you. Great post!

ratmammy said...

very interesting post! that will remind me NOT to walk around in a hot arid area with the only water for miles.. i dont want to be attacked by bugs hahah!

babooshka said...

I would not of had a clue what the beetle was. Love your narrative. You do suffer for your art. They are marevllous shots thouh.

i beati said...

didn't know a blister beetle until today ?? quite a story

Cathy said...

Interesting words and fascinating photos!

The Holleys said...

Those are really good shots! :)

twobarkingdogs said...

Great photos - thanks for sharing.

Misty Dawn said...

I wonder where that 'voice in your head' saying "Shoot it Bear" came from?... hmmmmmm Must be kinda like a bright orange bird squawking at you to follow it as leads you to a couple of fawns, eh?

Gretchen said...

Neat bug shots, but I would freak if that ugly thing came near me!

Texas Travelers said...

Great eyes. Nice capture.
There are a lot of things to learn and still see out there.

Thanks for the visit,
Troy

Kahshe Cottager said...

The sacrifices you made for Camera Critters! Imagine being 'attacked' for water! You did get some amazing photos of two insects I have never seen before. Those eyes are really interesting to see!