It's the end of another year. Thankful I am for all that it brought. I want to share a few highlights from my wanderings -- mostly near and some not too far.
Bees were a repeating theme this summer. I photographed a new (to me) species of sweat bee. It was this very tiny one (about 1/4") nectaring on an Echinacea flower:
Two unexpected finds this year were my first Monkey Slug Caterpillar (I bet you didn't know caterpillars could look like this!)
and about half-a-dozen migrating Monarchs seen in early September. If you are interested in how the Monarch migration did this year final tallies for the population now over-wintering in Mexico aren't in yet, but check this website for updates: https://www.learner.org/jnorth/monarch/fall2015/monarch-butterfly-migration112415.html
Four nights of "mothing" were definitely a huge highlight -- a lot of fun! Not only moths, but insects from half-a-dozen other insect orders were drawn to the UV light: beetles (Coleoptera), flies (Diptera), mayflies (Ephemeroptera), fish flies (Megaloptera), caddis (Trichoptera), even a wasp and an ant (Hymenoptera). But moths were the most numerous:
Owlet Moth Species
Grape Vine Looper
I suppose the most memorable event of the year was our month-long journey through the southwest. We traveled just about as far south as you can through parts of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas where we concluded our journey in the Hill Country. Insects, lizards, plants, the scenery -- all quite spectacular.
Texan Crescent- Tucson, AZ
Collared Lizard, male - Enchanted Rock, TX
Chiricahua Mountains - Arizona
Big Bend National Park
Returning to Big Bend after an absence of almost 10 years, was perhaps a pinnacle of joy for me. My first visit there was in the 1980's when I lived in Texas. I've been there many times since. I generally go in the spring to see the desert in bloom, and this year was one of the most spectacular seasons I've ever seen.
Why does one place speak to us over another? I don't know, but Big Bend is my favorite place on earth. It's a powerful landscape, and it humbles me. It envelops me and I become a part of it. It feels like home.
Such beautiful photos, Linda. You even make some bugs that might be considered ugly appear almost gorgeous. I too loved my visit to Big Bend a few years ago in the spring. Spectacular blooming cacti!!
Thanks Linda, for all the amazing photos! So happy to learn of your adventure in our very southwestern states. Such a nice excursion for you & Jim together!
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