Occasionally, when it is a nice day out, it is too much to be good and stay in…Even when I am fighting the good fight, writing grant proposals and revising manuscripts, sometimes the lure of the outdoors becomes irresistible. This morning was one of those times. Just before lunch, I grabbed my camera and headed out to shoot for 40 minutes in the SFU Community Garden. I am glad I did, because it was the most productive 40 minutes shooting in a long while!
I was extremely excited to see these beautiful halictids out. I am pretty sure this is Agapostemon but it is hard to tell with the tibia so loaded with pollen!
I thought there might be a spider associated with this dead Cabbage White, but the only thing feeding was this fly. Pretty cool anyhow!
This Philodromid gives a good lesson in persistence and struggling through adversity.
I really can’t get enough of these Halictids. They are just like living jewels!
The crème de la crème of the outing was this beautiful Laphria with a honeybee. I only had a short time with this beauty, as the strong wind caused it to fly far when I startled it.
So overall, my little adventure produced some decent shots! To top it off, when I returned to the lab I got an email informing me that a paper I am coauthor on had been accepted for publication in the Canadian Entomologist. Productive slacking! Is there anything better?
Photography seems to run in my family, with my Dad shooting lots of people and landscapes, and my brother doing lots of aviation and travel shooting.
My Dad was visiting this weekend from Romania, and so I thought I would take him out to find some cool stuff in Stanley Park. Now is a great time for fledgling birds, and all the summer specialties such as robber flies are abundant.
A mother Wood Duck watches her brood.
Fledgling Great Blue Heron, trying to fish.
Young Canada Goose, looking serious.
Crows were foraging in the intertidal of English Bay.
A fledgling crow learns how to get mollusks on the beach.
My dad takes a break while I shoot crows.
Soldier Beetle tosses antennae provocatively.
Lacewing larvae are pretty fascinating.
The Eudioctria were a bit randy today.
And hungry! Here is one with a barklouse as prey.
Strategic wing placement?
This Anthidium manicatum was fixated on these flowers. For an introduced species, these are pretty nice looking insects.
Coming in to the lab this morning, I found this beautiful male Laphria robber fly sitting on a window. He was still cool from the night, so he made a very cooperative photographic subject.
These large handsome flies are strikingly marked and are Batesian mimics of bumblebees. Robber flies do not rob banks, they rob life. For a great example of this, see Alex Wild’s wonderful photo of one with a honeybee.
This robber robbed me of about 30 minutes of photography time, but I think it is well worth it!
This morning, on another dog walk at Mt. Tolmie, I came upon my first Robber Fly of the year. It was perched on a closed Camas bloom, which wasn’t very pleasing, so I nudged it onto some other substrates. Because it was a cool and wet day, the robber obliged and did not flee. I do not know what species it is, but it looks to be a small male Laphria, which are known as the “Bee-like Robber Flies”. The Robber Flies )Family Asilidae) are some of my favourites, as they are often showy, have spectacular predation behaviour and can turn their heads to track flying prey!
After shooting the fly on several different backgrounds, I put him on an oak twig, figuring it would be a good place to catch the sun and warm up. To my surprise, a second male robber was perched on the very next twig! Please enjoy the following pictures responsibly, and if you have a fly-gasm, try to muffle yourself if you are in public.
Of course the robbers were not the only flies out there:
relatives of the Asilidae are the Empidae, or Dance Flies.
a wet Calliphorid
A Tipulid in the grass
On the subject of Tipulids, check out this spectacular male Tiger Crane Fly I found yesterday!