September 3 – Episode 100

This is my 100th blog entry in the current format.  For those who have recently subscribed, this series started almost seven years ago with simple weekly emails to my family back in California.  I combined it with my hunting and fishing journal shortly afterward so that they’d know what I was up to.  It was kept for awhile on a couple of different wiki sites.  Then in January of 2006 I obtained the domain name Showmejoe.com.  With it, I got the free blog application, which has served very well.  Meanwhile, the mailing list expanded to include Stacey’s side of the family and a large variety of friends all over the country.  I apologize if it contains many mundane aspects of my life, but it also serves as something of a diary.  If you just like to look at the pictures, that’s fine.  Lots of people do!

Correction: last week’s dragonfly was, in fact, the Yellow-legged Meadowhawk (not the Neon Skimmer).

Last week’s mystery photo was a view of the river from under a concrete bridge with reflections from the water.

Thursday morning I brought the little black rat snake into my freshman class, followed by a mouse.  To the dismay of some, I placed the mouse in the snake cage and said, “And now, something natural will happen.”  Many had never seen a snake eat before. 

When my afternoon lab was over, we took the recycling bins outside to be picked up.  We opened up one to remove things that didn’t belong there and found a live bat.  We put it in a little box and took it inside.  There had just been some fairly inflammatory stories about rabid bats on the local news.  So I called the local health department and animal control office.  Neither one wanted it.  It seemed to improve somewhat.  Therefore, I let it loose outside.

Naturally, I photographed him first.  I think I have images of this species already, the Big Brown Bat.

When I got home, I noticed we had some large mushrooms in the yard, courtesy of the two days of rain we’ve been getting (Thanks, Hurricane Gustav).

Flat-topped something.

Saturday I mowed the lawn.  It was way overdue.  You know how I love to photograph dragonflies.  They are great predators of the air, but even they have their enemies, in turn.
 
Here’s the victim, a blue dasher.                                    And here’s the perpetrator, a big orb weaver.


I caught these margined leatherwings en flagrante dilecto.  I actually created a calendar from a variety of mating insects I’ve collected over the years.  I’ll bet someone buys it. 

In the afternoon I went to the first meeting of what may become a local camera club.  It went way too long.  I went up to the Stookey’s to check on the cats and dog, and Shawn was there moving stuff out.  I helped him with some big work benches.  He gave me some leftover lumber. 

Sunday I went out to Lowell’s.  We fished a few rounds of the lake.  It was a slow beginning, but the fish started biting well eventually, especially when I switched to a lipless crankbait.  I caught 13 bass, while Lowell boated a very large bluegill.  After lunch we wandered around the place, Lowell on the Mule and me on the new little ATV.  We checked all the snake dens (that we could find).  They were full of dirt and bedding, mostly having been used by mice. 


This bullfrog was hanging out in the cattails. 


Many butterflies, like this little sulfur, were puddling downstream of the salt lick.


Many blue-faced meadowhawks have emerged recently.


These little frogs were everywhere.  Blanchard’s cricket frog, Acris crepitans blanchardi


This female eastern pondhawk had just emerged from the wetland. 


Neat looking caterpillar, identity unknown.

We pulled Lowell’s canoe out of mothballs.  Well, moths weren’t exactly it, more like  muddauber nests.  We put it in the lake and I took it out on a shakedown cruise.  It handles lightly and well, and doesn’t leak.  After I filleted the fish I baited up with a piece of fish skin, cast out, and got in the canoe.  In seconds, I was hooked up.  The first fish got off, but after I cast out again, it was less than a minute before I had a big catfish on.  It pulled me out into the lake a ways, but kept spinning and changing direction.  I got over to the pontoon boat and Lowell netted it.  It weighed 5 lb 10 oz.  Not bad for a cat from the main lake.  I released it. 

When I got home I went to Nancy’s and picked up some monarch larvae.  They’ll be great for my classes. 

I was picking some milkweed to feed the caterpillars when I found this really neat beetle. 


This one is great at playing dead, but it’s also built like a tank.
Labidomera clivicollis – Swamp Milkweed Leaf Beetle
Leaf Beetles (Chrysomelidae)

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