I love to take my camera out into the wild and take pictures–mostly closeups of bugs and such.  I find it refreshes me mentally and physically.  So it is therapy.  Since I am taking photos, I call it phototherapy.

Yesterday I took a vacation day from work and had an all day phototherapy session.

I started at Marietta Sand Prairie Preserve near Marshalltown, Iowa.  There is a small sand blowout area where I found tiger beetle.  I believe it is the festive tiger beetle, Cicindela scutellaris.  In order to get good photos of insects on the ground, I approach the insect, then get down on my knees or my belly, resting my elbows on the sand.  Then I slowly inchworm my way forward until I am close enough to fill the frame on my camera with the insect.  In this case, it was about 8 inches away from the lens.  Tiger beetles spook easily, so it took a lot of stalking and crawling to get photos of this guy.

Tiger beetles are ferocious predators which impale their prey on their hooked jaws.

I spent about an hour and a half at Marietta–although the insect life is diverse there, the weather was a little cool and windy for much activity.  I mostly only saw the tiger beetles, although there were a few wasps and a small number of common butterflies–red admirals and painted ladies.

Then I went down to Elk Rock State Park in Marion County, Iowa.  This is the middle of the short flight of Henry’s elfin, and I was hoping to see some.  They are known to occur at this park and I have photographed them there in the past.

A short walk down the equestrian path I found them in higher numbers than I expected.  There must have been close to two dozen altogether in the time I was there.  I have spent many hours on fruitless searches for this species.  There were more here than I have seen at any one time.

Most were basking along the trail, but a few were working the flowers–spring beauty and gooseberry.

I also saw this spring azure working the same flowers.  I will add the caveat that it could be the spring form of summer azure–I am not sure I understand all of the subtle differences.

There were beeflies all over.  I think this one is Bombylius major.

The therapy session worked.  I went back to my car a little tired, but mentally refreshed, though I smelled a little like a healthy horse.

About the roused bear

Nature photographer from central Iowa.
This entry was posted in Biological diversity, butterflies, invertebrates, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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