Mother Nature is the artist. I just collect the memories…

Posts tagged “insects

Endangered Toads

The California Black Toad(Bufo exsul) exists only in a tiny chain of natural springs in Eastern California.  They are endemic to this area, and as a founding member of the Eastern Sierra Herpetology Club, it is a privilege to be able to work with the California Department of Fish and Game to protect and maintain the habitat for these animals.  Yesterday, we took a trip up there to check on the toads, and see how the breeding season was coming along…

Adults in amplex amid egg strings

Adult pair in amplex(mating)

We observed 4 or 5 pairs of adult toads in amplex, which means the male has mounted the female and breeding has begun, and we also heard several “release” calls, which is a signal that mating has finished and the male is releasing the female.  We also saw millions developing egg strings, and even a few tadpoles…

Egg Strings. Each tiny, black dot is a developing tadpole. The empty areas are from recently hatched tadpoles...

2 tiny tadpoles, likely only a day or two old...

After visiting the breeding habitat, we followed the spring system to a location known to be home to several toads to see how they were progressing.  We were pleasantly surprised to see a countless number of juvenile toads, likely hatched last year, hopping and swimming around, seemingly everywhere we looked.  To say there were thousands would be an understatement…

Juvie Black Toad

Juvie Black Toad

It was a real treat to see so many breeding adults peacefully using the breeding habitat that we, as a club, helped to restore and protect.  It was also a real treat to see that the implementation of a seasonal road closure, also initiated by the Eastern Sierra Herpetology Club, led to such a successful amount of breeding last season.  We were all smiles and giggles over our short-term successes.  Now we can begin long-term documentation and maintenance and hopefully watch this endangered, endemic population of toads thrive in their only native habitat.

Obviously, while out on these trips, we see other reptilian wildlife and even a few insects.  So here are a couple of “bonus shots” from the day…

No idea...any guesses on species out there?

Great Basin Fence Lizard--Sceloporus occidentalis longipes

Common Sideblotch--Uta stansburiana

Northern Desert Horned Lizard--Phrynosoma platyrhinos platyrhinos

I did find a very pretty and extremely healthy Mojave Patchnose snake(Salvadora hexalepis mojavensis) on the way up to the habitat, but I didn’t get a picture of it.  I got to share it with my friend Rusty who had never seen one before, though, so that’s good enough for me…

Thanks for coming along!


I Love My Backyard

It’s not quite a year since I moved into this new place.  By the time we got here in May last year, the flowers and trees had already been too neglected to recover by much.  They did OK, but this year, with ready tending, watering, and cleaning, they are blooming like crazy.  With that comes the insects…

Yellow Swallowtail

Yellow Swallowtail 2

There is also several acres of empty, rolling scrub land behind the house that usually has birds flitting about.  This afternoon, I saw a cute little chipmunk…

Li'l Chipmunk

It’s nice to live in an area that has so many varied wildlife opportunities close at hand.

Thanks for lookin!

Sunflower Sunrise

I went to an area known locally as “Farmer’s Pond”, this morning.  In the winter, this entire area is flooded, and provides a lot of waterfowl habitat.  In the summer, they drain the water off, and the entire area becomes flooded with wild sunflowers.  One of the few places in the area that changes so drastically during the seasons, yet remains incredibly photogenic… 

Sunflower Sunrise


Self Portrait





Wheeler Crest

All in all, it was a really decent morning.  Thanks for taking the time to look!

Bishop Creek Canyon

I went camping with my daughter, my girlfriend, and her daughter up in Bishop Creek Canyon over the weekend.  It was quite nice to get outta town and get out with a camera in hand…

Looking east

Baby Mountain Gartersnake that Annette spotted--Thamnophis elegans elegans

One of the many species of blue damselfly

Butterfly taking a morning "coffee break"

Mother Nature's Garden

Orange Mallow

Mojave Prickly Pear Blossom

Not sure on an ID for this Damselfly yet...

No idea.  Probably a Daisy of some sort...

That’s about it for now.  I took a bazillion pictures of the fire last night, too, but I haven’t processed them yet. 

Anyhow…I really enjoyed the weekend.  I hope you enjoyed seeing the photos!

Dragon Flies

I love dragonflies.  They flit about eating insects, and look cool as hell doing it…

Thanks for looking!

Trip to San Francisco

So…anyone that’s been reading knows that I have been in the process of moving.  I have been living in a small, 2 bedroom  apartment with my daughter and a room-mate for the last 4 years.  It wasn’t the best, but we made it work.  Not long ago, my girlfriend asked if I was interested in getting a place together with her, and we jumped at the chance.  So, me, my daughter, my girlfriend, and her daughter al share a really nice 4 bedroom, 2 bath house.  Moving sucks ASS, and I despise the process.  But the results are well worth it.

So…as a little bit of a break, my good friend John and his wife took me to San Francisco for a night.  It still amazes me how easily my stress melts away with a camera in my hand…

Wild Rose growing in my new front yard

Bueatiful Swallowtail Butterfly

This guy threatened to break my camera if I took his picture. I wished him luck with that...

Awaiting the Bite


The Rock

Alcatraz Guard Tower

Forbes Island

Seagull you fly across the horizon...

Telegraph Hill from The Embarcadero

The Golden Gate in B&W

Crosstown Traffic

It was a really fun, albeit short-lived trip to the Bay.  I had never been there before, so it was a very worthwhile endeavor.

Thanks for coming along!

Backyard Macros

So…I’m in the process of moving out of my tiny-ass apartment, and in to a large house.  For the past 4 years, my daughter and I have shared a 2-bedroom apartment with a room mate, which means I have been sleeping on the couch for longer than I care to remember.  We are finally moving in to a large 4-bedroom, 2-bathroom house with my girlfriend and her daughter.  What a fantastic change!

However…this leaves me very little time to go out and shoot.  So…backyard “wilderness” will have to suffice…

Western Longnose-Rhinocheilus lecontei

Make A Wish

Looking at the world through a Fly's Eyes

The Nucleus

One more great aspect of our new house…PLENTY of open habitat to explore.  I haven’t walked around too much to explore the property in depth, but I know there are about 1,000 acres or so of public land surrounding us.  I also know that I received 3 different rattlesnake removal calls from this area last year, and all 3 were very nice Panamint Rattlers.  Rarely are removal calls actually for rattlesnakes.  Most of the time, they are big gophersnakes, occasionally a kingsnake, and even a few garter snakes.  But in this area, they have all been actual rattlers, and that makes me very happy, contrary to what one might think, considering there are 2 young girls running around.  But my daughter is well trained in identification, and my girlfriend’s daughter is quickly learning…

Thanks for taking the time to look!

Walk About Town

Just walking through town yesterday morning with my camera and 105mm macro lens…

Some kind of cultivated Rose

A sure sign of summer in the Town Park

Some kind of clingy-tree-vine with pretty flowers

Gathering nectar

Thanks for taking the time to look!