November 4 — Last chance butterflies

On Halloween it was fairly warm for this time of year.  We have a butterfly bush on the south side of the house that has done very well this year, and it is the last thing in the neighborhood still in bloom.  As a result, it was mobbed by butterflies.  I decided to use the macro lens, in part out of laziness since it was already on the camera.  The bush was mostly covered in skippers, but there were a few nymphalids about.  A Question Mark disappeared before I got a crack at it, but others were more compliant.  The first 93 images were discards because I had the camera set at -2 EV — they were all too dark.

Red Admiral Red Admiral, up close

This one was fairly cooperative, and a good specimen.

Painted Lady

There were three of these hanging about, two of which were good specimens.  I was pretty happy with this shot.  The little skipper in the corner is a bonus.  I really should use the macro lens more. It’s the best glass I have; it’s just not very forgiving.

Last Friday I was sitting my office, looked out the window and saw a big buck running across the lawn.  I grabbed my camera and ran out the back door.    I managed to get this shot. Too bad I forgot to zoom in.

Urban buck

My more expert friends say it would score at least 120, and is at least 3.5 years old.  Too bad I never see them like this when I’m hunting.    This is from the Missouri Bigfoot Photography Club–distant blurry photos of wildlife are required.

A guy from the lock and dam called and said he had an albino-orange spider he wanted me to look at.  Since my former student works there as a park ranger, he brought it up to my office.   It’s not an albino, and I’ve seen this one before.  Maybe four years ago a student brought me one.  I preserved it in alcohol, but the orange color went away.    This time I wanted to get some good pics of it, and set it up in my insect studio at home. 

Orange spider Hanging by a thread

In spite of having a “sitting duck”, I didn’t get the results I wanted.  It really is a beautiful animal.  Spiders are harder than I expected.  With a little online research I identified it as Araneus marmoreus – the Marbled Orbweaver.  They are not that uncommon.  Their coloration and pattern vary a lot.  They look like this toward the fall when their abdomen deflates somewhat.  The rest of the summer they have a very distended, almost spherical abdomen.

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