Monday, July 27, 2015

Afternoon Delights

During the warmer months I try to get outside for at least an hour or two most days. Nature is my one solace even though last week one would be hard-pressed to know that. Between nearly passing out in the 90+ degree weather, losing my eye cup for my binoculars and falling in a turtle hole smashing both my knee and scope on the unforgiving gravel, I had a momentary case of "piss on this." My entire body still feels the lingering aches and spinal misalignment from the fall, but that hasn't kept me inside. However I may rethink ever returning to Zeloski Marsh. I loathe grueling walks in the blazing sun for little reward which seems to be the case most visits to that marsh.

This Green Heron is the bird I took out my knee cap for. Instead of looking where I was stepping I was walking along watching the heron to find an angle where there would be greenery instead of sky behind the bird.  Suddenly, "BAM!" I went down, crying like a child while I writhed in pain. After mustering myself up, I did manage to get the shot I was looking for. The setting sun provided perfect light for digiscoping this stunning ABA Bird of the Year 2015.

Today's outdoor escape took me to the Mazomanie Oak Barrens in Dane County, WI. The plants and insects were "meh" for the most part. However the abundantly blooming Asclepias verticillata (Whorled milkweed) was attracting a variety of bees, a few butterflies and two species of "hummingbird" moths. Even on the most "meh" days outdoors, I typically experience at least one mind-blowing encounter with an insect or bird. My most golden moment from last week was a butterfly that approached me under the shaded canopy of an old growth forest. It circled my neck within inches of my ears. The audible fluttering of its wings in my ears was spine-tingling magic. Today's prize was finding this Titan Sphinx Moth that allowed close approach where I could hear the whirring of its wings as it nectared on the milkweed.

This Snowberry Clearwing was not so confiding. I settled for a distant photo of it enjoying the host plant of the day.

I also came across this leafhopper, but simply have no motivation to attempt any formal ID. What's in a name anyway?  I dub this one Dr. Seuss Fish Treehopper.

Tomorrow a familiar locale is calling my name. Hopefully I'll motivate early enough to get outside before things really start heating up.

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