I Hope It is Worth It

First off, Happy Birthday Ron!

Okay, we’re down to the final hour with all the marbles on the line.  Let’s do a quick check 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, …. 5…. oh crap, I’m down a post.  What to do, what to do.  Actually, there are no worries, I have been loading up my SmugMug site with a ton of pictures.  One of my recent favorites is a set of macro shots I took on our porch a few months ago.  I was was walking on the porch one sunny day when one of the more interesting insects decided to take a stroll on my siding.

Probably out of the insects I come upon around here, the praying mantis is the one that fascinates me the most (the stick bug comes in a close second).  From a photographer’s perspective, they have a nice vibrant color and a ton of cool features that pop out nicely under the macro lens.  They have a number of dynamic features ranging from the hook like feet, highly articulated legs and fine hairs running along the edges.  The best part of working with these specimens is that they are fairly docile and do not tend to panic at the presence of a camera glass shoved close to their face.  Speaking of which, this one was practically posing for the glass.

In case you are wondering, in this particular shot he is gnawing on his own foot.  Check out the creepy pupils.  They can track just about anywhere around the eye bulb and basically remained on me the entire time, regardless of what position or angle the camera was in.  Here is another on of the face with the pupils transitioned up to the top of the head.  Based on nature’s law, typically, animals with such range of vision are considered the prey where the more forward fixed animals fall in the predator range.  By that rule, one would think the mantis was somewhat docile, but the male mantis probably has a different opinion of that seeing as how the the female rips the cranium off of him after mating.

hit the jump for more shots!

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An Interesting Visitor

A week or so ago, Linda called me regarding a creature that was staring into our great room patio doors.  The odd thing is she was unable to tell me exactly what it was other than it was big, furry and the dogs were quite upset about it violating their space.  Short of a large rat, I still was not sure what it could be. One idea came to mind – “did it look like an otter and have a long skinny tale?”, I asked.  That resulted in a negative response which ruled out my arch nemesis the muskrat.  Luckily, she managed to take some  pictures.

It definitely was not a muskrat.  Turns out it was a groundhog.  Oddly enough, this is probably the first groundhog we have seen on our property since we acquired it.  We have had our share of squirrels, snakes, ground squirrels (or chipmunks), plenty of deer and that damn muskrat, but not one of these oversized rodents.

Apparently they are pretty nimble seeing as how it managed to balance itself on a single 4 inch board on our deck.  By this time the boys were in full bark so it was probably figuring out what its escape plan was.  Guessing it was more afraid of the large human yelling at it and taking pictures through the glass doors.

Finally a shot that showed its bushy tail confirming that it wasn’t the devil spawn muskrat (yes, I harbor deep hatred).  Not only is it nimble, it apparently does not have any bones in that fur.  That railing is only about 5 inches off the deck and it managed to squeeze its whole body under it.  To be honest, it looks kind of cute with its perky ears and plush fur.  Cute or not, it still needs to find another place to roam – their holes tend to be fairly large and destructive.  We had one living under a shed at our old house and it managed to dig a huge ditch all the way around the skids it sat on.  I had to put up a screen all the way around the shed to keep it out.

Hit the jump for a few more shots

Continue reading An Interesting Visitor