Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘animal

Not passing the buck

with 20 comments

White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianuslive in my northwestern part of Austin—or I in theirs, depending on your point of view. It’s common to see does, but bucks put in rarer appearances. While driving home on February 6th I decided to detour along Q Ranch Rd., where I’d seen deer in the woods on other occasions. Sure enough, I quickly spotted a group, and to my surprise all had antlers. After pulling over in the first available place I walked back and managed to get about a dozen pictures before the last of the deer had moved out of range.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Advertisements

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 20, 2019 at 4:48 PM

Posted in nature photography

Tagged with , , ,

What is that?

with 36 comments

That’s what we wondered at the Doeskin Ranch on November 24th after Eve spotted this strange thing and waited for me to catch up from my picture-taking so she could point it out. I’d read about insects that cover themselves with objects to act as camouflage, and that’s what appeared to have happened here. To learn the specifics, I turned to local expert Val Bugh, who identified this as “a bagworm moth case (Psychidae). Our big species here is Oiketicus abbotii (if I’m correct in estimating your example is about 2 inches long [she was correct] — the small species are less than half as big). This bag is empty and the exuviae is sticking out the bottom, indicating a male eclosed and flew off. The females never leave their sac.”

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 29, 2018 at 4:39 AM

What a 400mm focal length is good for

with 36 comments

Even at 400mm I had to crop the resulting picture quite a bit to close in on this northern mockingbird, Mimus polyglottos, that I spotted atop a bare poverty weed bush, Baccharis neglecta, in Cedar Park on December 1, 2017.

If you’re interested in the craft of photography, points 3 and 18 in About My Techniques are relevant to today’s picture.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 1, 2018 at 4:10 AM

Posted in nature photography

Tagged with , , ,

More than I bargained for

with 28 comments

On October 27th I was driving east on Louis Henna Blvd. in Round Rock when I caught a glimpse of some Maximilian sunflowers (Helianthus maximiliani) way up at the top of a tall mound of earth at a construction site. After parking on Roundville Ln. I walked around to photograph the sunflowers, as shown here:

I’d barely taken any pictures, though, when I noticed a raptor perched on a highway sign not far away. I put on my longest lens and managed to get two pictures before the bird glided down to the ground in a place where I couldn’t easily photograph it; then it flew away altogether.

Knowing practically nothing about birds, I checked with Shannon in Houston, who said she thought it was most likely either a “Red-tailed hawk (all season) or Swainson’s Hawk (immature, migratory),” and that she was leaning toward the former.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 26, 2018 at 4:46 AM

Multitudinous snout butterflies and two kinds of white*

with 18 comments

Where the previous post showed you a close and then an even closer view of an individual American snout butterfly (Libytheana carinanta), look at the swarm I found on some frostweed flowers (Verbesina virginica) on November 1st along River Place Blvd. I count at least two dozen butterflies in this picture. The autumn of 2018 has proved a good season for the species, which I’ve continued seeing in other parts of Austin as well.

This multitude of snout butterflies came as a bonus because what I’d stopped to photograph was some poverty weed (Baccharis neglecta), as shown below with another bonus in the form of native grape vines (Vitis spp.) climbing on the bushes. If you look carefully, you may also pick out one or two or three bits of breeze-wafted poverty weed fluff in the air; that’s how this species spreads its seeds.

* A search for “multitudinous snout butterflies” got no hits, so you are probably the first people in the history of the universe (after me) to be reading that phrase. Happy novelty to you.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 24, 2018 at 4:37 PM

American snout butterfly on goldenrod flowers

with 35 comments

On October 29th I photographed this American snout butterfly, Libytheana carinenta, on some goldenrod flowers that were growing around the pond at Central Market on North Lamar Blvd. If you’d like an even closer view from another frame that will better reveal how hairy the snout and head are, click the thumbnail below.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 23, 2018 at 4:55 AM

Roseate skimmer

with 30 comments

On October 4th I photographed a dragonfly that I take to be a roseate skimmer, Orthemis ferruginea.
Why the photograph doesn’t show six legs remains a mystery.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 16, 2018 at 4:40 AM

%d bloggers like this: