Friday, August 30, 2013

The Strike of a Shrike

I arrived at the entrance of the Click Ponds near the Viera Wetlands just as this Loggerhead Shrike did with a scrumptious meal. From the car, I was able to snap a few photos of the shrike as it wasted no time impaling its prey on one the fence's sharp barbs. Shrikes are known to use sharp objects to hold the prey they have captured. Shrikes do not have strong enough feet to hold the sizable prey they capture, therefore they hang it somewhere so they can consume it.

I didn't stick  a round to watch the shrike eat the grasshopper as it took notice of me...

I did notice that this shrike appeared some sort of fungus or injury on its bill.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Black & Yellow Argiope Spider

There definitely is no shortage of  Black-and-Yellow Argiopes, Argiope aurantia, along Biolab Rd. on the Merritt Island NWR. These large spiders build large, impressive webs. Thank you very much to Mia McPherson for the correct identification of this species! If you haven't been to her website, you should definitely check it out.....

Yesterday morning as I was admiring the large web above, a grasshopper made an unfortunate leap into the sticky web and became the immediate prey of the awaiting spider.

The orbweaver immobilizes its prey by encasing it in silk.

The spider decided to leave the grasshopper for later!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Merritt Island NWR 8/17/13

 I started my early morning visit to Merritt Island NWR with a drive along Biolab Rd. It was a beautiful overcast morning with the sun hiding behind a heavy blanket of clouds for most of the time I was there.

Roseate Spoonbills

The west side of the road was occupied by egrets, herons, and colorful spoonbills.

Reddish Egret 

Tricolored Heron

 The east side of the road was filled with shorebirds, terns, and a few gulls.

Short-billed Dowitchers

Lesser Yellowlegs

A Semipalmated Plover and its peeps

Seaside Dragonlet (Erythrodiplax berenice) ~female

There were thousands of dragonflies around and I enjoyed trying to capture them with my macro lens.

Seaside Dragonlet (Erythrodiplax berenice)

Seaside Dragonlet (Erythrodiplax berenice) ~male

Seaside Dragonlet (Erythrodiplax berenice) ~male

Seaside Dragonlet (Erythrodiplax berenice) ~male

Great Southern White

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Just Dragon Along...

Here are a few of the recent dragonflies I've come across as near the local ponds...

Little Blue Dragonlet

The Little Blue Dragonlet and Eastern Amberwing are two of the smallest dragonflies I've seen. The amberwing very closely resembles a wasp in both size and body shape.

Eastern Amberwing 

 male Needham's Skimmer

Eastern Pondhawk

Eastern Pondhawk

Blue Dasher

Carolina Saddlebags

Prince Baskettail **edited**
Epitheca Epicordulia