Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘eggs

Strange white stuff

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Finding sycamore trees (Platanus occidentalis) along creeks in Austin is commonplace. When I looked at this sycamore leaf along Bull Creek on July 25th I saw something I’d noticed once before, years earlier, but had never tracked down. Val Bugh came to the rescue this time: “the white stuff is a secretion that a female dobsonfly uses to cover her egg masses. Makes them look like bird droppings. The leaf should be over water so the hatchling hellgrammites will drop in.”

Me, I can’t help thinking the Hellgrammites were once a religious sect of the fire-and-brimstone type. In fact the American Heritage Dictionary says that the first part of the word probably is indeed hell, based on the insect’s painful bite. And we remember the old adage that hell hath no fury like a female dobsonfly scorned.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 3, 2017 at 4:40 AM

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Killdeer

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Killdeer Near Nest on Beach 8021B

At Illinois Beach State Park on June 14th we noticed a lot of clutter in one place, as you see in the first photograph. Flitting in and out of that clutter was a bird that I learned is a killdeer, Charadrius vociferus.

The “cage” of dead branches rising from the beach sand obviously wasn’t natural but had been placed there by people. When we got closer we could guess at the reason for the uprights: to mark the killdeer’s nest and keep walkers from accidentally treading on it, given how easily a passerby might take the eggs for just a few more stones out of the thousands on the beach.

Killdeer Eggs 8034

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 24, 2016 at 4:50 AM

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