Thursday, July 17, 2008


We all have those days when we just have to get out of the office for a few minutes in order to keep our sanity, well today was one of those days. I went out to walk by the pond at lunchtime to clear my mind, but I was not alone!
There were dragonflies everywhere but they were not landing anywhere long enough for me to take any pictures, the damselflies however were slightly more obliging. This is a female Eastern Forktail Ischnura verticalis (above). When the female is immature, it looks completely different (below).
And of course the males are much more fancy, although they didn't really stay still long enough for me to take a decent picture as they were too busy looking for the females!
I also managed to find a larger specimen of the White-marked Tussock Moth Orgyia leucostigma caterpillar which is very showy and surprisingly hard to spot on the branch of a willow but a lot easier to catch up with for a photo!
I noticed a lot of the Aster plants were looking very ragged as if something had been feeding on them so I started looking for the culprit, which didn't take long. It was the Goldenrod Leaf Beetle Trirhabda canadensis (thanks Doug) which had clearly decided not to live up to its name and move on to eating the Aster instead!
I can't resist bumble-bees and this one that was working a milkweed flower was absolutely huge and just had to be photographed.
There were dozens of iridescent little flies around constantly zipping from plant to plant. I did manage to capture this one rather blurred image although I shall not even begin to hazard at an identification!
The milkweed is growing strongly now so it wasn't too hard to find a Milkweed Bug Oncopeltus fasciatus although they move pretty fast too so I unfortunately managed to chop one of the antenna off in this shot!
And just in case you thought my entire time was spent looking at bugs, this charming little family group did work hard at stealing the show. This female Wood Duck Aix sponsa had nine tiny ducklings in tow!
So all in all not a bad ten minute break from my desk! I guess the heart of downtown Chicago isn't such a dead environment as it first appears, we just have to take the time to look around us and enjoy.

Photo Credits - CJT


Rambling Woods said...

Have you seen any of my photos with the wood duck brood sitting on a neighbor's dock? We don't have any logs so they picked that as the next best thing...Great series

Celeste said...

Michelle - Yes, I love your Wood Duck pictures. They are one of my favorite ducks, I love their little squeaks!