Saturday, October 27, 2012

Courting Tarantulas

   
Creepy Crawlers for Halloween

With Halloween being just a few days away, I decided to dedicate this blog post to the creepy crawlers who have been playing trick or treat in my back yard. In the Southwestern U.S. during August through September male tarantulas come out and begin their journey to find a suitable mate.



This movement of large hairy brown spiders is called the Tarantula Migration, however tarantulas do not migrate.  Most of their lives are spent underground in a burrow that they dig and reinforce with webbing.



Tarantulas are nocturnal and most of the time will go unnoticed because they come out at night to search for their prey of insects and small animals.  For the last two years, a female has set up residence under the decorative rocks by my patio.


  Even though I am terribly afraid of spiders, we have a peaceful co-existence.  It's just when I walk outside and almost step on a five inch (12.7 cm) amorous male that my heart comes through my chest!



The smaller males have been known to travel around 50 miles (80.46 km) in their quest for courtship and many will die either from being eater by the female or from sheer exhaustion.  Female tarantulas have been known to live for 20 years.

    
  

So as my natural Halloween decorations are moving right along, I wish you a safe and happy Halloween!





No images on this blog are within Public Domain.






With my Nikon and tripod, my goal is to recreate the scene as it appears in nature, to preserve in a photographic image the awesome, yet simplistic beauty of the scene that waits around a bend or over a hill. Sometimes it's a colorful landscape, and many times I'm allowed in the presence of the numerous creatures that adapt to life in the wild.
 
 All rights reserved, world-wide and images protected by Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). All photography, graphics, text, design, and content is copyrighted by Bonnie Rannald and should not be copied, down-loaded, transferred and re-created in any way without the express consent, in writing to Bonnie Rannald. For information on Bonnie Rannald licensed, right-managed images, please submit a written request.

"Reflecting Nature's Artistry"

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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Summer of 2012, Great Basin Desert


 Nature's Subtle Changes

Over the summer of 2012, I have noticed some subtle changes with the birds and insects that I enjoy watching in my yard that is located in the Great Basin Desert of Northern Nevada.

 It was a cold spring this year with the temperatures not warming until June. However, the cooler temperatures and strong winds were not deterrents to the hummingbird migration. I noticed some early arrivals in mid-March.  Fortunately I had the feeders ready with plenty of sugar in my pantry.



The Bullock's Orioles began to show up much later than the typical April 15th. calendar date.  I was starting to worry that something had happened during their migration from South America when finally I noticed a male desperately trying to drink from the hummingbird feeder.  Quickly, I prepared the larger feeder that is designed to accommodate the orioles so that they can drink nectar water.



Once the air began to warm up, it got very hot.  The summer was also dry and even the seasonal monsoons did not produce any measurable moisture. 

The hot, dry summer did not deter the damselflies from being so prolific; I have never seen such large numbers and a few stragglers were still around in late August.



For the first time over the summer, I did not see any of the usual garden spiders that spin such intricate webs around the pond plants.


  I only saw one Western Spotted Orb Weaver on the Russian Sage.  



However, the lake spider orb weavers were out in mass with larger numbers than I have ever witnessed.   It was not a good time to go hiking through the brush, they are not poisonous but will bite.



The bees have been very plentiful and are still buzzing at every flower that is still in bloom this late in October.



After such an abundance of Painted Lady Butterflies from the summer of 2011, I only saw a few and they did not hang around for long.



Much to my surprise, the number of preying mantis was very low.  There were so many last summer and I found egg sacs on almost every wooden surface.



The summer of 2012 has been an unusual one and it seems to be getting hotter each year.  The Great Basin Desert is noted for its cooler temperatures and if the climate continues to warm, it will be very interesting to see what changes to nature this will bring.




No images on this blog are within Public Domain.






With my Nikon and tripod, my goal is to recreate the scene as it appears in nature, to preserve in a photographic image the awesome, yet simplistic beauty of the scene that waits around a bend or over a hill. Sometimes it's a colorful landscape, and many times I'm allowed in the presence of the numerous creatures that adapt to life in the wild.
 
 All rights reserved, world-wide and images protected by Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). All photography, graphics, text, design, and content is copyrighted by Bonnie Rannald and should not be copied, down-loaded, transferred and re-created in any way without the express consent, in writing to Bonnie Rannald. For information on Bonnie Rannald licensed, right-managed images, please submit a written request.

"Reflecting Nature's Artistry"

Follow this blog for upcoming post!
Photos Make Great Gifts!
Many of these images are available on our website.
We now offer Gift Certificates and Digital Downloads in addition to the
"Off The Wall" custom matted and framed images.




Visit our website at: http://www.bonnierannald.com/





Friday, October 12, 2012

Early October in Yosemite National Park


Highlights from a Day of  Exploring

October weather in the Eastern Sierra Nevada's can be very unpredictable, however this year in 2012 it has been very warm and dry.   After learning of our first seasonal change coming soon with lower temperatures and possible rain, I decided to return to Yosemite National Park for more photos.



 Driving the 70 miles, 112.6 km route through Tioga Pass that reaches altitudes near 10,000 feet, (3048 m) can be challenging even on a clear, sunny day. In many places the winding, two lane road has a drop-off of more that 3,000 feet (914 m) on the east side, with no guard rails.  Tioga Pass becomes too dangerous to drive when there is ice and snow so it is closed through the cold weather months and may not open until June.


 Upon arriving at Yosemite Valley, one of the first attractions is El Capitan, towering more than 3,000 feet (914 m) above the Valley floor in the northern sky.


"El Cap" has two rock faces pointing to the southeast and to the southwest, with the "Nose" in between.  Once considered impossible to climb the world’s largest monolith of granite is now a favorite challenge for rock climbers from across the globe.



 A hike down along a quiet stream has a picturesque view of El Capitan reflecting in the calm water with deciduous trees on the bank just beginning to change color.


To the south, the buttresses and pinnacles of Cathedral Spires accent the afternoon sky.  Noted for some of the first rock climbing in Yosemite Park, this awesome formation has three summits:  Higher, Middle and Lower.


In late afternoon as the sun begins to drop, a walk through a meadow finds a doe and her fawn almost hidden in the tall grass.  Unafraid of people, they sit quietly as I keep my distance.

 


To the west, the Half Dome rises above the landscape at 8,842 feet (2695.04 m) and is one of the youngest formations in Yosemite Valley.



Returning home back through Tioga Pass, I catch one of the smaller active glaciers, the Dana Glacier flowing near the top of 13,053 foot (3978.55 m) Mount Dana, on the east entrance to Yosemite National Park.  An interesting note, the temperature where I am standing is around 60° f (15.55° c) and the summer heat is just drawing to an end.



I look forward to a return visit to photograph more of the wonders in Yosemite after Tioga Pass has been cleared in the spring or early summer.




No images on this blog are within Public Domain.






With my Nikon and tripod, my goal is to recreate the scene as it appears in nature, to preserve in a photographic image the awesome, yet simplistic beauty of the scene that waits around a bend or over a hill. Sometimes it's a colorful landscape, and many times I'm allowed in the presence of the numerous creatures that adapt to life in the wild.
 
 All rights reserved, world-wide and images protected by Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). All photography, graphics, text, design, and content is copyrighted by Bonnie Rannald and should not be copied, down-loaded, transferred and re-created in any way without the express consent, in writing to Bonnie Rannald. For information on Bonnie Rannald licensed, right-managed images, please submit a written request.

"Reflecting Nature's Artistry"

Follow this blog for upcoming post!
Photos Make Great Gifts!
Many of these images are available on our website.
We now offer Gift Certificates and Digital Downloads in addition to the
"Off The Wall" custom matted and framed images.




Visit our website at: http://www.bonnierannald.com/





Thursday, October 4, 2012

Western Pigmy Blue Butterfly


North America's Smallest Butterfly 

During the early morning on October first, I was enjoying my coffee while sitting outside by a lantana bush when I noticed a tiny set of blue wings on one of the leaves.  A closer look revealed a very small Western Pigmy Blue Butterfly.  The western pigmy blue butterfly, Brephidium exilis is the smallest butterfly species in North America, with a wingspan that measures from 5 to 7 millimeters.



Preferring warm salty areas, the western pygmy blue can be found in the Southwestern States of Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas. Over the last few summers, I have noticed more of these butterflies which may be due to the increased levels of salinity in Walker Lake.



After changing my camera lens to the Nikon macro 150mm 2.8, I began taking close ups while the butterfly was still.  The air temperature was was cool and butterflies need the sunlight on their wings to warm-up before they can start to fly.


 When the sun rose higher in the sky the butterfly slowly stirred from its leaf and moved to the lantana flower.  As a reference to how small this butterfly is, the entire lantana flower only measures approximately 3 centimeters across.





No images on this blog are within Public Domain.






With my Nikon and tripod, my goal is to recreate the scene as it appears in nature, to preserve in a photographic image the awesome, yet simplistic beauty of the scene that waits around a bend or over a hill. Sometimes it's a colorful landscape, and many times I'm allowed in the presence of the numerous creatures that adapt to life in the wild.
 
 All rights reserved, world-wide and images protected by Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). All photography, graphics, text, design, and content is copyrighted by Bonnie Rannald and should not be copied, down-loaded, transferred and re-created in any way without the express consent, in writing to Bonnie Rannald. For information on Bonnie Rannald licensed, right-managed images, please submit a written request.

"Reflecting Nature's Artistry"

Follow this blog for upcoming post!
Photos Make Great Gifts!
Many of these images are available on our website.
We now offer Gift Certificates and Digital Downloads in addition to the
"Off The Wall" custom matted and framed images.




Visit our website at: http://www.bonnierannald.com/