Thursday, February 28, 2008

Robber Fly

While I was organizing files last night, I ran across a photo from the Ft. Worth Botanical Garden. My grand-daughter called it a bearded bee. In reality it is a Laphria sp. Robber Fly. They are mostly beneficial insects but do prey on some honeybees. The robber flies are of the Order Diptera (flies). The Robber Fly Family is Asilidae and species identification is difficult at best. There are ~900 North American species and over 7000 species world-wide.

It reminded me of a blog by Doctor H P Flowers "... Sweet Home". In which he says “Every bug needs a leaf to call home”.

Do you think the above robber fly feels at home on his hairy grass stem?

Probably what most people think of as a robber fly or what we see most commonly here in Ft. Worth is Efferia sp.

And another colorful robber fly, possibly Diogmites sp. doing what robber flies do.

The photo organization that I was working on last night when I ran across the Robber Fly is an impossible task.

I wish caffeine wasn't so hard on my heart. I could have really used some last night and even now.

I am in the middle of reorganizing my photos. 5 hard drives, 3 external drives, and a multitude of cd's and dvd's. I don't even want to think about the negative/print scanner (which was a gift from Christmas-before-last) waiting to receive the dozens of boxes and file cabinets full of prints, slides and negatives that I have accumulated for over 40 years.

One of my main projects this winter has been backing up, sorting, and thoroughly viewing the 18,000 digital photos from our trip through the Western US (16 states), Canada (4 provinces), and Alaska. I had always wanted to drive the Alaska Highway, but little did I realize that we would be gone so long (16 weeks and 18,000 miles round trip). It was a great trip, but more on that later.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Spring is Nearly Here in North Texas

With Spring coming, this time of year is exciting. I admit Winter is my least favorite season. At least in winter, there is still birding, reading, photography and printing all of last summer's photographs. The bird feeders have really been busy this month. I guess the birds got the memo that extra food was available. One thing about the Goldfinches --- they are impatient waiting their turn at the feeder. Have you noticed the deepening yellow and some are just beginning to put on a cap.

American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis)

Where's Spring? (Snowus pickupus)

On Feb 2 the Groundhog declared March 15 as start of spring, but I will settle for March 21. Actually Spring occurs this year 0n March 20 at 5:48 GMT Or for those in the Central Time zone at 11:48 PM March 19. At that time the plane of the equator will be not be tilted with respect to the Sun (hence Spring Equinox or the first day of Spring)).

Daffodils are blooming, birds are getting restless, and fat buds are appearing on the trees. Lots of butterflies (well some) are flying here in North Texas and more in South Texas and the Valley.

In Preparation for Spring:

Halleuluah! One cold dreary winter day, the sun peeped out a bit. Martha and I are anxiously awaiting landscapes filled with splashes of colored flowers, butterflies, singing birds, and buzzing bees. We long for balmy days, blue skies, and fresh air in open spaces. What will we do when spring finally arrives? Birding of course but also......

Photographing Texas Wildflowers
A new project - Madness - call it what you will

Yes, I know, estimates range to near 5000 flowering plants. Why not try something smaller, like photographing the wildflowers in some of the local nature areas.

Texas contains wide regional differences.

  • Grasslands (Prairies)
  • Coastal areas (Subtropical)
  • Arid areas with high dry plains
  • Hill Country
  • Mountains
  • Forests - Hardwoods, Pineywoods, Mesquite
  • Bogs

Maybe I should have titled the project "Photographing Some Wildflowers". The photography is easy, just "point and shoot ;o " . The "Photoshopping" is a bit more difficult. Flower identification is even more time consuming, especially for those rarities found far from home. And I don't have a clue yet as to what to do about organizing all those photos.

This is the first entry in our first blog. I am sure the style will evolve, and the format will change, but I have to start somewhere. In fact, I don't have a clue as to what this will look like when I post it.. I am putting this together for family and friends, but if anyone out there likes this or has suggestions, let me know. I am sure there are a wealth of links out there that will help me improve the content and style. Let's get started.

And So, on to Spring Wildflowers, Birds, Insects, Spiders and Balmy Days!!!