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.