Tag Archive | BC

BC Day Long Weekend part 2: Bees in the garden

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A second feature of this past weekend was getting out to various gardens and plantings to see some flower visitors. I first stopped off at the Strathcona community garden, then some gardens near Commercial drive.

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Early morning on Echinacea: often bumblebees don’t make it home in the evening, and I find them dew-wettened, clinging to the flowers they were visiting the previous evening. They are in no mood to fly in this state, and I get the opportunity to experiment with lighting.

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With a diffused flash to the left, and a reflector card on the right, this bee gets the beauty treatment, despite her bad hair day!

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For some reason, this bumblebee looks to me like she is enjoying a belly laugh.

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The advantage of working with immobilized insects cannot be overstated. This shot mixes in the dawn light, hence the sunbeam!

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I found a few other creatures in the garden, such as this awesome sac spider.

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This flower longhorn was one of the few non-bee insects I ended up shooting at Strathcona.

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Here is a dew-wettened honeybee on some kind of mint.

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And a dry honeybee foraging on Echinacea.

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Later, during the heat of the day, I went to Grandview Park near Commercial Drive. This is our native paper wasp, Polistes aurifer.

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There were a whole lot of the introduced wool carder bees (Anthidium manicatum) foraging and stalking on catmint. Here is a male on his lookout perch, where he watches for rivals and females to chase.

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One of the few times they are still is during copulation, wherein the male violently grabs the female while she feeds. I believe the white tuft on the male tibia has something to do with shading part of the female’s eye.

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They seem to be having a good time.

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I do not normally chill insects, but this male I chilled for a short time to see what would happen. they are normally out on such hot days, it stood to reason they would be sensitive to chilling. This procedure allowed about a minute of shooting, and in not such terrible positions either.

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Here he is, looking fierce and about to fly off.

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Booty duty: this natural light shot shows a megachilid with a scopa full of pollen.

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Pretty boy: finding the male of Agapostemon texanus is a wonderful thing. The combination of the striped abdomen and brilliant green is hard to resist. They would steal my heart from Coelioxys if they weren’t so damn fast!

Back to the beach!

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Catherine and I had to make a quick run back to Iona Beach last night to retrieve a fallen Raynox DCR-250 and to search out some Micropezid flies for Morgan Jackson. It was a quick trip, but we succeeded on both counts! Of course, I also took the opportunity to do some shooting as well. Here is what we got.

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A Tibellus (Philodromidae) feasts on a damslefly.

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A damselfly feasts on a chironomid midge.

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Weekend Expedition 50: Richmond Nature Park

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Wow! I can’t believe Weekend Expedition is turning 50! Seems like just yesterday we were at Richmond Nature Park, bringing bugs to kids and speculating how cool it would be to walk around and see the place. Catherine and I saddled up after a long week to see what we could see in this Richmond gem, a bog forest habitat just off Westminster Highway. The day was bright and sunny, but it was cool on the trails.

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A male linyphiid (sheetweb weaver) hangs out on Oregon Grape.

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These staphylinids seem to be having a sex party on a flowering Labrador Tea.

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Catherine and I got our animal feeding jollies at home before setting out: we now have some really fat spiders!

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Some prime spotting by Catherine: a female Snakefly!

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This (lauxaniid?) is feeding on the corpse of a barklouse.

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I really like how this chironomid blends into the lit-up leaf.

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This one, in contrast, stands out.

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This place is full of blueberries, all along the trails. None ripe yet though!

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Here is a male Philodromus dispar in silhouette.

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We found a whole bunch of rhaphidophorids (camel crickets) under some bark.

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Back out toward the entrance was a newly-fledged Rufous Hummingbird.

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Mama would come periodically with food.

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The fledgling was already feeding itself as well!

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This throat-stabby feeding looks painful, but seems to work well enough.

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The whole scene was quite wonderful to see. In only a month and a half, they will be shipping out for a long migration south.

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A watery world of gulls

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If you have ever taken the ferry from Vancouver to Victoria, the part with the spectacular scenery is Active Pass. This narrow channel separates Galiano Island on the north from Mayne Island on the south, and is a great place to watch out for wildlife. This time of year, thousands of tiny Bonaparte’s Gulls gather in the pass for feeding prior to migration to breeding grounds inland. These gulls have molted into their breeding plumage, and are quite handsome. They are difficult to get close-up shots of, as they are small and shy, and don’t like french fries. Nonetheless, they add to the feeling of abundant life of the sea-land interface of the Pacific Coast in springtime.

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When I can’t get a closeup, a shot like this emphasizing the patterns of the water works nicely too.

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Here the subjects are difficult to discern, but I like the juxtaposition of the small gulls and the big ocean.

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Here you can see some feeding behavior in a raft of gulls.

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The gulls seem to commute from one end of the pass to the other, perhaps following the tides. These waters get turbulent, and I presume lots of organisms get churned out of either end.

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Getting out on deck on the ferry for photography is a great way to spend the time. Especially so now that the weather is fine!

Portrait session with a hummingbird

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Yesterday my brother and I got up to the airport to see if we could shoot some planes with his new (to him) 300 mm f4. We ended up photographing a much smaller bird: an Anna’s Hummingbird male! This little guy was pretty cooperative, as he was just perched on his favourite territorial lookout, so we had some good opportunity to mess around. Almost all these shots were taken in the shade of a cedar, so the light was not too dramatic, but nonetheless it was fun!

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Very rarely, the little guy went into a sunny spot. The full glare of his gorget was a bit too much, so here it is only partially shining.

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