Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘predator

Two takes on a robber fly

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On July 30th I spent some time going around the Riata Trace Pond. After I spotted a robber fly on a bulrush stalk and gradually moved toward it with my macro lens, I was pleased that it stayed put and let me take pictures. I noticed that from a certain angle I could line up the robber fly with a spot of bright vegetation beyond it, as you see above. Still, with natural light alone I couldn’t muster much depth of field, so I walked back out through the brush to where I’d left my bag, put a flash on the camera, and returned. Aiming from a different angle, I saw for the first time that the robber fly had caught a bee.


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And here’s a bit of advice from the Dalai Lama: “Look at situations from all angles, and you will become more open.” In 2018, Mercedes Benz quoted that wise thought as part of an Instagram post hashtagged MondayMotivation. According to Suzi Weiss, “The line sparked an uproar in Beijing, and the German carmaker quickly apologized.” I invite you to read the full July 2021 article by Suzi Weiss, which includes an interview with Patrick Wack, who has documented the depredations that the Chinese government has been perpetrating against the Uyghurs in Xinjiang Province.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 15, 2021 at 4:32 AM

A wasp dragging a spider

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Along the Muir Lake Trail in Cedar Park on July 3rd I noticed a colorful and energetic wasp dragging a spider that it had immobilized. When I stepped closer to try to take a photograph the wasp went away, but I took a stance at a medium distance from the spider and waited for the wasp to return. It came and went several times, continuing with its task each time, and I managed to get some sharply focused pictures in spite of the frequent movement.

UPDATE: Thanks to John S. Ascher at BugGuide.net, I can now say this predator appears to be Tachypompilus ferrugineus, known as the rusty spider wasp, red-tailed spider hunter, or red-tailed spider wasp.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 23, 2017 at 4:45 AM

One green succumbs to another

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Green Lynx Spider with Killed Bee on Goldenrod Flowers 7796

Remember the metallic green sweat bee that I photographed on my hand in Arkansas three months ago? On September 1st at Southeast Metropolitan Park I found a similar bee that had fallen prey to a green lynx spider, Peucetia viridans. The yellow of some goldenrod (Solidago spp.) that was already flowering added to the colorful if ghastly scene. In fact it was the goldenrod flowers that I’d stopped to photograph, and then when I got close I discovered the spider and bee on them.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 7, 2016 at 5:02 AM

New Zealand: Southern black-backed gull

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Southern Black-Backed Gull with Stargazer 5949

On February 20th along the Wellington foreshore we noticed that a bird (which turned out to be an immature southern black-backed gull, Larus dominicanus) had found a fish (which turned out to be a spotted stargazer, Genyagnus monopterygius). At first glance the fish seemed dead, but as the gull kept pecking and pulling at it, the fish occasionally wriggled and proved that it was still alive, even if its stargazing nights were clearly over. To say that surviving in a state of nature isn’t always fun is an understatement.

Thanks to Dr. Colin Miskelly, Curator for Terrestrial Vertebrates at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, for confirming that the bird is an immature southern black-backed gull and for identifying the spotted stargazer. Dr. Miskelly hosts a blog dealing with New Zealand’s animals, and by coincidence a recent post showed southern black-backed gull egg and chick.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 15, 2015 at 5:32 AM

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