The Dunn’s Salamander (Plethodon dunni) is a species of salamander in the Plethodontidae family. Photographed at night near Balch Creek in Forest Park, Portland, OR. Natural habitats include temperate forests, freshwater springs, and rocky areas. Its diet consists mainly of small invertebrates.
I’ve been looking for patches of old growth forest in Oregon or Washington to set up trail cameras. This isn’t easy. There aren’t many old growth forests left, and the larger intact tracts are tourist or hiking destinations – not a good place to leave a camera for several weeks. Luckily, with the help of friends, I have made great progress in finding small isolated patches of ancient trees that few know about. Seeing these huge trees is amazing.
The following images resulted from my travels to find the old growth forests. These are places with old growth trees, but for various reasons would simply not work as locations for remote cameras. My quest continues, but the looking has been half the fun . . .
Many aphids are green and typically blend in with their host plants. Not these. They are easy to spot and I can’t understand why small birds wouldn’t immediately devout them. While they are exceedingly tiny, they tend to hang out in large groups making them easy to spot en masse.
This was not an easy photo to capture as bees move fast, and using an Canon MPE-65 lens is almost like trying to point a telescope at a specific and distant star. In other words, aligning the lens to what you see with the naked eye takes a fair bit of time since the subject is so small. Frankly, luck and determination made this work as I have been trying to capture this behavior for years.
I’m not sure anyone fully understands what bees are communicating with this activity. I imagine they can check affiliation (are you from my hive?), but I’m guessing there is more too it than that. Scientists researching bee behavior have discovered much already. In fact, recently a team of scientists trained bees to stick out their tongues in the name of research: http://www.jove.com/about/press-releases/50/scientists-train-honey-bees-to-stick-out-their-tongues
The connection between the foods we eat, and the important pollinating insects such as the western honeybee (and native bees too) is often lost as we consume something as delicious as a raspberry (or raspberry jam, raspberry cobbler, raspberry fruit rollups, etc). Bees are having a hard time however and many farmers are worried: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/29/science/earth/soaring-bee-deaths-in-2012-sound-alarm-on-malady.html?pagewanted=all
Here a honeybee does her work pollinating the flower of a red raspberry (Rubus idaeus).
Honey bees (Apis mellifera) swarm in an apple tree in urban yard in Portland, Oregon. A new honey bee colony is formed when the queen bee leaves the colony with a large group of worker bees, a process called swarming. A swarm can contain thousands to tens of thousands of bees. Seeing one up close can be intimidating because there are also thousands of bees in the air in the direct vicinity of the bee ball. I shot this without a bee suit, just inches away, and received no stings. The bees didn’t even look at me funny.
I have read two different ideas regarding the false eyes on the back of the head of this owl. Northern pygmy owls are often mobbed by other birds and the fake eyes may create a target that protects the owl’s actual (and of course, delicate) real eyes. The other idea is that this will fool a predator, thus making it seemingly impossible to sneak up behind the owl. Could it be both? Or perhaps a better, less obvious explanation still remains to be discovered.
Living on the coast has its challenges. Everyone knows that sand dunes shift over time, but few expect dramatic movement over just a few days. But that is exactly what happened in the little beach community of Waldport on the Oregon coast. After a series of powerful storms hit the coast in succession, the dunes moved. They enveloped homes, caved in walls, and broke windows. I’ll bet some of the houses in this community were compromised enough to be uninhabitable. The power of sand and wind.
Green bottle fly is a common name applied to several different species of flies, and it can be hard to differentiate them – but most are blow flies that are attracted to rotting meat and feces. While Its habits are not very pleasant, there is no denying that these are striking and beautiful flies. They are also wary and quick, and a considerable challenge to photograph.
Like many insects, green bottle flies use pollen as a quick source of energy. They are especially attracted to flowers with a strong or foul odor, and I noticed a compliment of these shiny green flies on garden daisies in my yard last fall. Yes – stinky daisies and green bottle flies are a match made in fly heaven.
Obsession is rarely pretty, but it took me days to get these images. My neighbors probably wondered what the hell I was doing spending hours in the yard staring at daisies holding a weird conglomeration of a camera, but mercifully none asked.