Sunday, July 01, 2018

Sauk Ghosts II

"It is amazing what a lot of insect life goes on under your nose when you have got it an inch from the earth. I suppose it goes on in any case, but if you are proceeding on your stomach, dragging your body along by your fingernails, entomology presents itself very forcibly as a thoroughly justified science."

 ―Beryl Markham

Dickcissel Spiza americana

It's July! The past few days have been sweltering with almost unbearable high heat and humidity. Whatever outdoor activity I decided upon for the weekend, I wanted to be done by 11:00AM. With better lighting, I decided to have another round with the Ghost Tiger Beetles at the sandlot near the Sauk City Canoe Launch. The beetles were still present, but either there weren't as many or they were a little harder to find. In any case, they were certainly much faster, probably on account of the bright sunlight.

Butterfly Milkweed Asclepias tuberosa

The sandy realm of tiger beetles must also contain prey―note the little anthills. As I scanned for the zippy beetles, I heard songs of Vesper Sparrows, Savannah Sparrows, Horned Larks, and Dickcissels. Though this was a bug hunt, I couldn't resist photographing a cooperative Dickcissel before heading home (top photograph). But back to the tigers!

Ghost Tiger Beetle Ellipsoptera lepida

Ah yes! These portraits will do nicely!

I also checked the beach at the Sauk City Canoe Launch and found two somewhat uncommon and difficult-to-photograph tiger beetles: Sandy Stream and Hairy-necked!

Sandy Stream Tiger Beetle Ellipsoptera macra

Hairy-necked Tiger Beetle Cicindela hirticollis 

Hey! Where do you think you're going?


Farewell most interesting sandlot. Perhaps I'll visit you again late July!

Closer to home ...

Butterfly Milkweed Asclepias tuberosa

And at the opposite end of beetle behavior is the docile Dogbane Leaf Beetle:

Dogbane Leaf Beetle Chrysochus auratus

Hoary Vervain Verbena stricta

All images © 2018 Mike McDowell

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