Category Archives: wildlife

Stuff And Things

Thought I’d clear out a few photos, etc. in a post prior to my surgery tomorrow…

While doing a bit of last-minute mulching in the back, I came across this little guy, below. Plume moths are cool, but they’re small and hide in the grass, so photographing them is difficult. This one was okay with settling on my hand, and stayed there while I went to get my phone and find a little fading sunlight to take the picture. I haven’t added to my insect photo pages lately, so this will be a nice addition:

6091 - Grape Plume Moth (Geina periscelidactylus)
6091 – Grape Plume Moth (Geina periscelidactylus)

Memorial Day weekend took us up to Chicago area for a wedding, and at the last minute I realized that the Twins would also be playing in Chicago the same time. I was able to take in the Friday night game from the third row of right centerfield at The Cell on a clear, cool evening. While it was a good game, the only runs the Twins scored were in the first inning, when I was still a couple stops away on the “L” red line. The Twins ended up losing 3-2, but haven’t lost a game since.

The Cell
action from the bottom of the second inning

I’m still actively collecting Twins baseball cards, but things have slowed a bit. Lately I’ve managed to add a few new players to my certified autograph card collection, among those Jim Perry, shown below, along with another Bert Blyleven AU, my 62nd and 63rd different Glen Perkins AU, and some Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer jersey cards.

stuff things
clockwise, from top left: 2005 Topps Pristine Legends Personal Endorsements #PEA-BB Bert Blyleven (auto); 2005 Upper Deck Artifacts Autofacts #PE Jim Perry [298/599] (auto); 2007 Upper Deck Ultimate Collection Ultimate Write of Passage #WP-PK Glen Perkins [13/60] (auto); 2015 Topps Heritage Clubhouse Collection #CCR-JMA Joe Mauer (jersey); 2006 Topps Turkey Red White #TRR-JM Joe Mauer [94/99] (jersey); 2008 Upper Deck SPx Winning Materials SPX die cut #WM-MO Justin Morneau [090/150] (jersey); 2008 Upper Deck A Piece of History Franchise History Gold #FH-30 Joe Mauer [67/99] (jersey); 2007 Topps Chrome Refractor White #348 Glen Perkins [003/200] (auto)


Florida Keys — Wildlife Edition

Here is the promised post with a select few of some of the wildlife of the Florida Keys from our recent vacation

While at Theater of the Sea, this parrot (wish I remembered its name) was giving kisses, even making a kissing noise 😉

Mo gets a kiss

We even had some wildlife at our hotel (no, not that kind!) — at the bayside waterfront out back we discovered five manatees, two of which came up to the beach. K was able to touch one, which then rolled over to try and get a belly rub. We didn’t know at the time that interacting with the manatees is frowned upon, and we’re glad the contact never got more than that.

K and friend

Also, besides gar and other types of fish, we saw this stingray along the beach one day.

stingray combing the sand for lunch

It wasn’t the best time of year for looking for interesting Key insects, but I did catch a few: here’s a Great Pondhawk seen while hiking at Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park…

Great Pondhawk (Erythemis vesiculosa)
Great Pondhawk (Erythemis vesiculosa)

…and an Io moth caterpillar seen at Anne’s Beach.

Io moth caterpillar – Hodges #7746 (Automeris Io)

And a couple cool spiders as well; saw three Spiny-Backed Orb Weaver near the water at the Laura Quinn Wild Bird Sanctuary.

spiny spider
Spinybacked Orbweaver (Gasteracantha cancriformis)

Also saw three larger Golden Orb Weaver along the Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park hiking trail.

golden orb weaver
Golden Silk Orbweaver (Nephila clavipes)

I’m not much of a bird watcher, but there were a plethora of sea fowl seen during our vacation — yet, the first bird I saw on our first day at the Keys … a cardinal! Go figure.

Recent Additions Friday Random 10, And Some Skeeter Eaters

I set up WMP to play from my Recently Added tracks; let’s see what popped up…

  1. My Bully” – Modern Skirts, Catalogue of Generous Men
  2. Elsie Cubitt” – Patrick Gowers, Sherlock Holmes soundtrack
  3. San Pedro” – Ozric Tentacles, The Yum Yum Tree
  4. “Driver’s Seat” – Sniff ‘n’ the Tears, Fickle Heart
  5. Oops” – Steps Ahead, Modern Times
  6. “Jane Austen’s Door” – Steve Hackett, Darktown
  7. “Ask” – The Smiths, The World Won’t Listen
  8. Providence” – Saints of Valory, The Bright Lights
  9. “Heightened Awareness” – Steve Morse, Prime Cuts
  10. World of the Heart (Main Title)” – Randy Edelman, Dragonheart soundtrack

It’s been a while since I’ve gone on a photo safari of the back yard, but here are a couple nice pics of everyone’s favorite mosquito defense system — a dragonfly, and a damselfly:

Great Blue Skimmer (libellula vibrans)

Slender Spreadwing (Lestes retangularis)

Southern Beauties, And A Cautionary Tale

I haven’t posted any insect photos in quite some time. Hence the cautionary tale: I had my “working files” of photos to polish off and post stored on a flash drive, along with some back-up files of other miscellaneous items. Well, at one point a couple months ago, the flash drive stopped being recognized by any laptop or PC I plugged it into. I don’t know that there is any real way to rescue files off a malfunctioning flash drive, but I have to think the multitude of the unposted photos are gone. 😦

While on our Ft. Myers vacation trip, I kept my eyes open for any possible photo opportunities with the regional insect life, and it ended up paying off. The best pics were taken on our day at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates, which isn’t too surprising given the multitude of flowering plants and shrubs there.

Tersa Sphinx Moth (Xylophanes tersa) – Hodges #7890

The first photo was taken of a familiar friend, a Tersa Sphinx moth just inside the screened porch of the caretaker’s house. The woodgrain pattern on the wings and body is quite eye-catching.

Monk Skipper (Asbolis capucinus)

While wandering along the waterline and dock area, I saw this skipper perched on a relatively bare shrub. A plain skipper like this one isn’t easily identified (initially I guessed it might be a Swarthy Skipper or somesuch) but given its size, it’s no doubt a Monk Skipper, indigenous to the area. Got a little eye damage, too, from the looks of it.

Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae)

Lastly, while wandering the floral area near the gift shop on the way out, I stalked this Gulf Fritillary for a while. Like its name sounds, they are very flitty, and with the breeze that was blowing I was lucky to even get a photo as still as this one ended up. The bright orange color looked very striking among the flowers there.

Well, getting back to my cautionary tale, I guess the moral of the story is always back up your files, no matter where you keep them.

A Changing of the Guard

Well, I’m between baseball card trades, still working on my latest Spookymilk Challenge submission, but as it turns out, this is a great time of year for insect watching and photography.

Red-Spotted Purple Limenitis arthemis astyanax

As the high temps we’ve been having start to head down (at least to normal high temps), the early fall insects are beginning to appear alongside the summer holdouts.  Skippers are a-plenty (especially Fiery Skippers; normally Sachem Skippers are the typical ones I would see), and the large showy butterflies are now flitting across the back tree line.

Spicebush Swallowtail Papilio troilus

Monarchs, Swallowtails, and Buckeyes are common right now, and their fidgity nature makes them frustrating to try and get a quality photo — they not only don’t tolerate close proximity for long, but they also don’t hold still, either.

Eastern Amberwing Perithemis tenera

This has been one wild year for dragonflies (and damselflies).  We had swarms of large clubtails around the beginning of July, and daily I can find Blue Dashers and Eastern Pondhawks patroling the yard.  The little Amberwing above was a surprise to me, and was just timid enough not to let me get close enough to it in the grass to get a clear shot.  I’ve only seen these at Lake of the Ozarks.

Common Buckeye Junonia coenia

With the butterfly bush and hyacinths in full bloom, it’s a pretty fragrant invitation to the butterflies and hummingbirds.

Silver-spotted Skipper Epargyreus clarus

Of course, I can’t end without a photo of our other neighborhood watch member, the mantis.  While this photo of the young ‘un looks like a Chinese Mantis, I believe it is a Carolina Mantis, descended from the one which patrolled the lantana plant the previous year (and laid oothecas on the front door and step).

Carolina Mantis Stagmomantis carolina

Friday Random 10

TGIF, time for the first ten random tracks of the day…

  1. “Chinese Medicinal Herbs” – Jeff Lorber, Lift Off
  2. “Shining Star” – Earth, Wind, & Fire, Greatest Hits
  3. “4 Minute Warning” – Brian Eno, Music for Films III
  4. “Heartland” – Roger Eno/Kate St. John, The Familiar
  5. “Ethereal Cereal” – Ozric Tentacles, Tantric Obstacles
  6. “On Presuming to be Modern” – Synergy, Cords
  7. “Retroglide” – Level 42, Retroglide
  8. “Down in the Hole” – James Taylor, New Moon Shine
  9. “The Domes of G’bal” – Ozric Tentacles, Live at the Pongmasters Ball
  10. “Every Little Thing” – Yes, Yes

Insect Photo of the Day:  Fiery Skipper Hylephila phyleus

Player to be Named Later: Cardboard Collections

Well, not a player as such, but a baseball card, and not just one, but a handful. Colbey at Cardboard Collections and I completed a trade back in May, but a few cards were missing from the package that arrived at my door; turns out I’m not the only one that misplaces cards. Colbey promised to send them along as soon as they turned up, and sure enough, he’s as good as his word!

clockwise, from top left:  2009 Topps Wal-Mart black border #340 Joe Mauer; 2009 Topps Turkey Red #TR47 Carlos Gomez; 2009 Topps Target retro #36 Kevin Slowey; 2009 Upper Deck O-Pee-Chee Face of the Franchise #FF28 Joe Mauer, thank God it’s not Torii Hunter anymore!

Those nuisance Target and Wal-Mart parallels are nice to cross off the wantlists, and the other cards that arrived too were greatly appreciated. Thanks again!
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Friday Random 10: This Is The Soundtrack Of Your Life…

…or however the ad campaign slogan went.  Here’s the first 10 soundtrack tunes to pop up off the external Passport HD:

  1. In the Cornfield” – James Newton Howard, Signs
  2. “Missle Lock” – Michael Giacchino, The Incredibles
  3. “Pai Theme” – Lisa Gerrard, Whale Rider
  4. “Wormhole” – Wendy Carlos, Tron
  5. “Haircuts” – James Newton Howard, Waterworld
  6. “Suture Self” – Ensemble Studios, Age of Mythology soundtrack
  7. PiR2” – Clint Mansell, Pi
  8. “Main Title/Closing Theme” – Fred Steiner, Star Trek TV Soundtrack, Vol. 2
  9. “Full Circle” – Christopher Gordon, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
  10. “Green Destiny (Love Theme” – Tan Dun, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

TGIF, and Go Twins!

Insect Photo of the Day:
Common Stonefly Perlesta, on the back fence