Things are really winding down here in Vancouver, with colder nights, falling leaves, abundant spiders, and a distinct lack of bees, wasps and plant-feeding insects. This is one of the more melancholy seasons for an insect lover, but there are still some treasures to be found.
The summer insect fauna is winding down, so I thought I would go out for a quick stroll at McDonald Beach to see some of my favourites before they disappear. If you want to know what else I was up to this weekend, check out this awesome post by Catherine Scott on the Spiders Unravelled event at Iona Beach!
When a spider wants to make a long distance traverse between two objects, or just wants a quick way to ascend an obstacle, what can he do? Lets find out by watching a male crab spider.
Getting out to talk to kids about bugs has got to be one of the coolest things to do in science outreach….As we did last year, we went to the Richmond Nature Park for their insect (and spider!) show. Great thanks to all the volunteers and especially Emily Toda for putting this together.
We had an absolute blast showing these cool insects and spiders to the kids. If you ever get the chance to do this kind of outreach, DO NOT HESITATE! It is awesome!
OK, bear with me here. I got so many great shots of kids playing with insects, I put them in a gallery. Just click on the first image below, and a slideshow should appear. Enjoy!
The Rubber Boa I wrote about yesterday was just the icing on the cake of my recent trip to Naramata.
This past weekend, Erin Adams and I were up in Naramata to do some ant surveys. This beautiful little town is right near Penticton on Lake Okanagan. This arid, yet fertile land is home to fruit and wine growing, as well as the wonderful faunal diversity of the northern Great Basin Desert. One of the great species we have is Canada’s only species of boa, the Rubber Boa (Charina bottae). These gorgeous snakes make their living mainly preying on subterranean nesting mammals, and hence they are difficult to find in the open.
Nonetheless, we set out to find some on the KVR trail above the town. Erin must have the golden touch, because on the very first rock she flipped sat this lovely female rubber boa.
These snakes have a special place in my heart, because when I was a child, visiting Science North in Sudbury Ontario, I got to hold one of them! This was a great thrill for me, and it was so great to get the opportunity to see these wonderful animals again in the wild. I can personally attest to the lasting effect that brief encounter had on my outlook and interests.
Island View Beach was not all bees and high fashion, I also got some cool shots of some awesome predators. First up is this cool robber fly! I think it is in the subfamily Stenopogoninae, but I am by no means an expert.
This weekend I went to Victoria, and spent both Saturday and Sunday morning at dawn at Island View Beach. The usual cast of characters was about, so I took the opportunity to do some experimentation with background, lighting, composition and cropping. I am sure you are all getting a bit tired of Coelioxys now, but they make such great models! They are awesome for practicing macro photography with.
If there are any suggestions from other photographers regarding what else I could be doing with these photo ops, please let me know in the comments!
Here is the balance of my weekend shooting, including friendly rabbits and cooperative bees and wasps.
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.