Sights of July 2014

July 31, 2014  •  2 Comments

I have been enjoying the heart (and heat) of summer. I went on my regular butterfly count with Irvine Ranch Conservancy and also on one on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Needless to say, I saw lots of butterflies! I also visited the Santa Barbara Natural History Museum for an event in honor of National Moth Week, but I shot more beetles than moths. I enjoy discovering new places and new (to me) species. I particularly like to observe behavior. I caught some usual and unusual insect, spider, and vertebrate behaviors and have lots of photos this month. 

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Highlights:

A highlight of the month was a Northern White Skipper trying to mate with a newly eclosed Checkered White.  For those less familiar, I often have trouble telling white butterflies apart, but we expect the butterflies to know the difference. Not only are they two different species but they are from different families.  The female had newly emerged (eclosed) from the chrysalis which you can see hanging on the stem.  Her wings are still a bit shriveled as she is trying to dry them out for flight. Yet this persistent male skipper kept trying, of course to no avail. 

Checkered White - Pontia protodice and Northern White Skipper - Heliopetes ericetorumCheckered White - Pontia protodice and Northern White Skipper - Heliopetes ericetoruma Northern White Skipper trying to mate with a newly eclosed Checkered White. Not only are they two different species but they are from different families. The female had newly emerged (eclosed) from the chrysalis which you can see hanging on the stem. Her wings are still a bit shriveled as she is trying to dry them out for flight. Yet this persistent male skipper kept trying, or course to no avail.

 

Another highlight was watching hooded orioles in the nest in the plantain tree of my next door neighbor.  Their were three chicks and I saw the last one leave the nest.

Hooded Oriole- Icterus cucullatusHooded Oriole- Icterus cucullatus Hooded Oriole- Icterus cucullatusHooded Oriole- Icterus cucullatus

A White-breasted Nuthatch searches for insects.

White-breasted Nuthatch - Sitta carolinensisWhite-breasted Nuthatch - Sitta carolinensisOrder: PASSERIFORMES - Perching birds
Family: SITTIDAE - Nuthatches


Limestone Canyon trail, 07/13/2013

A Western fence lizard warms himself in the sun but keeps a watchful eye on me, ready to make a run for it.

Western Fence Lizard - Sceloporus occidentalisWestern Fence Lizard - Sceloporus occidentalisGeorge F Canyon, Rolling Hills Estates 07/06/2014

This black and yellow mud dauber builds its nest near the eaves of my house. 

Black and yellow mud dauber - Sceliphron caementariumBlack and yellow mud dauber - Sceliphron caementariumFamily Sphecidae - Thread-waisted wasps


My yard 07/07/2014

Many yellow jackets were excavating a burrow in the ground. Western Yellowjacket - Vespula pensylvanicaWestern Yellowjacket - Vespula pensylvanicaWestern Yellowjacket - Vespula pensylvanica

Painted bugs are invasive species from Africa first recorded in LA County in 2008. They are often confused with the well established, and much larger, Harlequin bugs. I have seen them foraging on the same plants. I put together a page to help distinguish them.
 
Usually jumping spiders move around by jumping. I caught this one creating bridge lines to travel. 

Bold jumper - Phidippus audaxBold jumper - Phidippus audaxFamily Salticidae - Jumping spiders

My yard 07/07/2014

 

 

 

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Comments

2.Besim(non-registered)
I am impressed not just the quality of your photography but also your vast knowledge of plants, animals, insects, birds and the like
1.Lindsey(non-registered)
What a great collection! You have a wonderful eye for detail, color and composition - well done!
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