Bees

Bee 2007-07-12_057

341-0016 Honey Bee

Honey Bee

2007-08-04_333

BZZZZZZ

Flying Rods

Mentioning UFOs gets a strong reaction from most people.  It’s like talking politics.  Nobody really knows much about it, but they all seem to have very strong opinions about it.  I saw Dennis Kucinich the other day… on tv 😉  Flying rods, or sky swimmers, are definitely unidentified.  There has been some video and photographic evidence that there are… things… flying around out there.  On film, they look like rods with manta ray wings.  People have theorized that they can swim through water or air.  They seem to travel at amazing speeds, 100 miles per hour by some accounts.  they zip past the lens in a blur, leaving just a ghostly image to analyze.

 

Flying rods have been compared to dragon flies and other multi winged insects.  Who knows?  Skeptics say that flying rods are nothing more than regular insects, distorted by the cameras used to record them.   The cave of swallows in Mexico is the most famous home of the skyfish.  It’s an amazing formation.  The cave is really a hole 1300 feet deep, carved out of the jungle by erosion.  Base jumpers travel there to parachute under ground.

I’m not sure what to make of the flying rods.  The explanations seem plausible.  Slow shutter speeds could turn a regular insect into an elongated, undulating skyfish.  On the other hand, we discover new species every day.  there’s no reason why there couldn’t be some new species or genus of insect out there.  Take J. Craig Ventner’s voyage aboard the Sorcerer II.  He traveled around the world in a sailboat, taking water samples every 200 miles.  They discovered almost 7,000 new species of microscopic animals.  there’s a lot more about the world that we don’t know…  I guess that’s why it’s called cryptozoology.

J. Craig Ventner’s voyage

Swarming

 

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Come Into my Web

 This lady set up camp next to a drafty window in my garage last summer.  It’s winter now, but I’d like to have a new place ready for her this spring.  there are some commercial web frames out there.  They’re mostly aimed at kids, but I’ve picked up a few pointers.  This one looks like a simple picture frame.  At first, I thought that the flat corner on the right was just a placard for their logo.  It’s a spider retreat, though.  That’s a great idea.  I’m going to make several frames in different sizes.  I’m going to make the retreat out of heavy screen, though.  that way, I’ll have more light when I’m taking pictures in that little pocket.

 

The Peony in my back yard seems to attract a cadre of spiders, too.  They’re smaller than the spiders in the garage.  Maybe a small plastic hoop would work better outside.  I’ll try both and see.

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National Geographic

I took this picture on the Lehigh Valley Trail, a converted railroad right of way. the honey bees were swarming the bush, but didn’t seem to mind my intrusion at all. They scattered briefly when I set up my tripod in the middle of their bush, but quickly went back to work. At first, I tried to follow individual bees, but eventually decided to pre focus on a flower and wait for a customer to come by.

I came across a site at National Geographic that accepts amateur photographs. An editor picks twelve per day to post on their site, and two of those get published in the magazine.  The “Your Shot” page also has some amazing photography on it.

Fly Away

I’ve had a pretty complicated couple weeks. I’m sorry I haven’t been reading or responding much.

I did go to a butterfly conservatory last weekend, which was a great pleasure. The conservatory is a large glass dome with tropical plants throughout the interior. Once you’re inside, there are a dozen or more species of butterflies floating around. Hundreds of them fill the interior.

I’ll shake off my blogging dry spell… and I’ll avoid a cheesy butterfly metaphor here 😉

The chrysalii hang in a plexiglass enclosure. Holes cut in the window let the butterflies exit once they have emerged and dried off.

Mendon Ponds Park

The park is feeling the weight of the Japanese beetles this year. I remember these critters from when I was a kid. They’re everywhere, I saw them all along the South meadow trail. Amber and I took the 2 mile loop through the upper plateau meadow.

I think that this area may be another Oak Opening. It’s a grass/milkweed meadow surrounded by an oak forest. It seems very similar to the Rush Oak Openings park I visited last month. Can you see the deer trail in the left picture? The deer in the middle picture? That’s about as close as she let me get. I guess she didn’t take too kindly to my dog. Amber didn’t even know she was there. Amber alerted on something at the southern end of the meadow, but I never saw or heard what it was. I did hear the deer in the middle picture moving in the thick brush as I walked by that spot in the trail.

When I hike in Mendon Ponds, I usually have my 90mm macro lens on the camera. I really enjoy hunting for the small little details along the trail. I never got any of the butterflies I saw, they just wouldn’t let me get close enough. These two insects couldn’t leave their homes, so they made easy photo targets. It looks like a whole colony of black ants live in an old hole in this tree. In the other picture, a spider has made a nice little home in a stalk of last year’s grass.

http://www.monroecounty.gov/parks-index.php

Two Cheneys

 Well, the Vice President has admitted that he is part of the Executive Branch.  Seemed inevitable to me, you don’t have to go much past the first page of the Constitution (Article II, section I) to know that the VP is in the Executive Branch.  Dick Cheney argued that he is part of the Legislative branch since he is the President of the Senate(Article I, Section III), and casts tie breaking votes there.  That’s not enough to make him part of the Senate, regardless of how many ways his chief of staff tries to parse the Constitution.  I’m interested to see if he will now be forced to comply with the Executive order.  Should Cheney succeed in dodging the National Archives, then the historical record of his office will be tainted.  The Archive auditors’ job is to make sure that documents are being preserved for historical purposes.  I expect Mr. Cheney to redact and withhold his record to make himself look better.  He’s been hiding his record for more than 4 years now, no reason to think that he’ll release it without some outside pressure.

NYTimes article.