Photography Challenge Day 208: Spider webs

The winner of today’s photography challenge are spider webs. They were chosen mainly because I liked how all the water droplets looked on them in the fog.

Spiderweb

So one of the places I head every week to try to get pictures of the egrets, herons, and other birds is the dock. Every morning, there are numerous spiderwebs strung between the supports on the dock. Sometimes I see the spider on the web, but most often I just see the webs.

These two webs were pretty close together, and I liked how the water droplets clung to the silk strands of the web.

Spiderweb and flowers

Then I saw these pink/purple flowers that had a spiderweb woven between them, but again–I didn’t see the spider, just it’s web.

Spiderweb in a tree

Then as I was heading towards the other side of the lake, I noticed that there were several spiderwebs in the trees. They didn’t necessarily have water droplets sticking to them–they were insulated from that, but I liked how they looked.

Flowers, a web and it’s spider

So I didn’t realize that I actually managed to get a picture of a spider on it’s web while on my walk. I think at this time I was focused on the flowers, but also managed to get the picture of the orb spider on it’s web.

The seasons will soon be changing–Monday is the fall equinox (first day of fall), and that means that the temperatures will start to fall. Probably slowly for a month or so (we are talking climate change after all–and we still have quite a few flowers that haven’t opened yet on numerous Rose of Sharon bushes), and then quickly until we hit winter temperatures.

That means that the spiders are already starting to prepare for the next year–those that only live a year, are looking for mates, and then the females are looking for areas that will withstand the cold, winter temperatures so they can lay their eggs. The young spiders may or may not hatch, if they do–they’ll spend winter together and disperse in the spring; others will wait to hatch until the spring and then disperse to find new homes.

I think that I’ll continue taking pictures of the webs until they’re gone, and then I’ll keep an eye out for them in the spring. I’ll also keep an eye out in the spring for the wolf spiders that will be coming out of “hibernation” as well.

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Photography Challenge Days 206 and 207: Butterflies and a spider

So the next couple of winners are some butterflies and a spider that I saw on my walk on Sunday.

The first is of a pale yellow-brown butterfly with eyespots on it’s upper wings. I haven’t quite figured out what butterfly it is—one possibility is the common buckeye butterfly, but this one doesn’t have eyespots on the lower portion of the wings.

Butterfly

I managed to get two pictures of this butterfly before it flew off.

Butterfly closing it wings..

Well, it might have some pale eyespots on the bottom portion of it’s wings. That might help a little more in narrowing down the identification. I’m going to continue trying to figure out what butterfly it is, even if I have to go ask someone in entomology for help in the identification of the butterfly.

Spider crawling on it’s web.

The second winner is a spider—again I have no idea what type of spider it is. While I managed to get a couple of decent pictures, I didn’t get any good ones with identification marks to compare to pictures to get an identification of it—I just know that I’m very careful in walking around trees and bushes at the lake in the morning so that I hopefully don’t walk through any spider webs.

A side view of the spider on it’s web

This spider had made it’s web in between branches on a tree that close to the water. Nice place to catch evening bugs. And then the final winner is….

Viceroy butterfly

The third winner is another viceroy butterfly that was flying around one of the points at the lake. The way to tell the difference between the viceroy and the monarch butterfly is that the viceroy butterfly has the black stripe on the bottom part of it’s wings (monarchs lack that stripe).

Hopefully the weather will behave and I will be able to walk around Boomer Lake again this coming weekend and see what birds, mammals, reptiles, and insects are round this coming weekend.

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Photography Challenge Day 204 & 205: The Green Heron is still around

So the winner of the next double photography challenge is the green heron. This one (or these two) haven’t started their migration south yet, though they should be heading off within the next couple of weeks. Green herons migrate south anywhere from the end of August through October.

Well–we’re a little over halfway through September, so there is basically now six weeks until Halloween. I’m hoping to possibly get a few more pictures of them this fall before they head south, since I never seem to be able to get good pictures of them in the springtime.

Green Heron flying in the fog.

I managed to see them both mornings that I walked at Boomer Lake, though I saw them on opposite sides of the lake. On Saturday, I startled this one, and it flew past me to head into the little cove. Due to the fog, I lost sight of it once I turned around to follow it.

These guys blend right in with the dreary landscape, and if it had sat still and ignored me–I would have completely missed seeing it.

Green Heron flying across the lake

Sunday morning, I saw one of them flying from the little island towards the tall grasses that I had just passed. I knew that there wasn’t going to be any closer pictures this morning. Though I have to wonder where the other one is at–I’ve seen them as a pair this year. Even with the one I startled yesterday–I soon startled it’s mate/friend a few minutes later. I just wasn’t able to get a picture of it.

Though this is one thing that has made me happy this fall–being able to get a couple of good pictures of the green herons.

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Photography Challenge Days 202 & 203: The difference between sunny and foggy.

So the walks this weekend were polar opposites of each other—Saturday was totally foggy, and Sunday was sunny without a cloud in sight. Therefore the pictures for the weekend are going to somewhat showcase the difference between a sunny day and a totally foggy day.

Great Blue Heron sitting in the tree on Saturday

So the above picture was taken on Saturday, and I was actually surprised that I managed to see the heron through the fog sitting in the tree. Luckily I’ve been watching them enough that I knew where to look.

Great Blue Heron sitting in the tree on Sunday

Then basically the same location on Sunday, and either the same blue heron or another one was sitting in the tree deciding on when to go hunt for breakfast.

Then I managed to get a picture of an egret back in the creek area of the lake. This is one area that I want to explore a little more–but I need to get some hiking boots first, plus some decent pants as well (summer isn’t the time to be in the woods with shorts on).

Great Egret in the fog, on Saturday morning

So there is this one egret that I always see under this tree on the creek side, come fog or sunny weather.

Great Egret in sunny weather, on Sunday morning.

So even slightly unpleasant weather can lead to interesting pictures, especially when you can do an comparison shot within a few days afterwards. I probably could have tried to go back out Saturday afternoon and see what photographs I could have gotten–but these are roughly the same time but one on Saturday and the other on Sunday.

Something new to aim for–getting certain photographs in certain areas at roughly the same time each day (or each week) and then compare them to each other………..

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Photography Challenge Day 201 (a few days late, and slightly short): The cottonwood borer

So I realized that I’m a few days behind on the photography challenge–there were internet connection issues on Thursday, and last night I was just too tired to log in and try to do a double post. Therefore I’m going to post Thursday’s winner today, and then I’ll do a couple of double posts over the next few days to play catch up yet again.

The winner of Thursday’s photography challenge is the cottonwood borer. I realized that it was a beetle that probably fed off of trees, and with a good guess, managed to figure out which “beetle pest” I was looking at.

Cottonwood borer crawling on grass.

What I find interesting—it wasn’t around any trees. It was crawling on the tall grass along the bank of Boomer Lake. I’m assuming it was trying to make its way to the closest cottonwood, poplar, or willow tree it could find.

Side view of the cottonwood borer climbing on the grass.

It is one of the largest insects in North America, and is found in the United States (east of the Rocky Mountains).

Look at those antennae

These are pests—though the larvae do the most damage when they hatch, by ingesting the inner portion of the tree, turning it into sawdust and pulp. I’ve seen numerous paths on cottonwood trees that we’ve taken down and the outer bark was removed, that the larvae took throughout the tree. Depending on how close the larvae hatch to the roots, they can also damage the root systems, killing the trees from the bottom as well as from the inside.

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September’s Full Moon Goals as it transitions through Pisces

So the moon has entered it’s latest full moon phase. This happened either last night (which would have made it a full moon on Friday the 13th) or tonight. It is also the Harvest moon (which is what the full moon closest to the fall equinox is called).  September is also almost halfway over, and that means there is just a little over three and a half months left in 2019.

The Harvest Moon

So if I looked to the book “Moonology: working with the magic of lunar cycles” by Yasmin Boland, I’d see that there are five questions that one can ask themselves during this time:

Have I been dreamy to the point of not getting enough done and making silly errors?

Have I been overly sensitive and too easily hurt?

Have I been acting like a martyr? Or too easily led?

Have I been meditating every day, and if not, why not?

Have I been in touch with my intuitive side? Following my dreams and hunches?

So if I were to number the above questions 1-5, I think that my answers would be as follow:

  1. I would probably agree that I haven’t gotten enough things done in terms of working towards a transition into industry, but that is more of not planning/over-planning/not managing my time well enough. I do “escape” into my own world when the real world irritates me (which is quite a lot lately), but I don’t think that I’m making silly errors. I do make mistakes now and then—but I’m only human, and not a machine.
  2. This depends on what one is talking about—I try not to take criticism personally at work, I know that I’m moving on and the others are staying—they have to worry about every little thing to ensure that funding stays. I’m only human and I do make mistakes (and I made a couple this week, that postponed some data for clients by a day or two)—but I always apologize both ahead of time and when I finally get the data to them.
  3. No, I haven’t been acting like either a martyr or being easily led around by others either.
  4. I try to mediate every day and usually at night. There have been a few days when I haven’t meditated in the evenings before bed, and that is usually because I’m either really tired, or really irritated with something and I just want to read for awhile before heading to bed.
  5. I’m trying to do this, I really am—but first I have to try to redefine what my dreams are for my career (as becoming a professor at a university doing cutting edge research isn’t in the current cards). I have realized that I need to live my life for me—which means going on a reboot break to determine what it is I want to do, and moving forward from there.

So the Pisces full moon is also passing through my seventh house, which is also my “love zone”. While I’m currently not in a relationship, it can also relate to how one deals with other people in general. One thing that I have found interesting with this book—there are questions for the full moon, and things to consider with each house (but only with the new moon)—I guess they balance each other out, since you go through each constellation and house twice in a year (once for the new moon and then once for the full moon).

So I am going to pay attention to how I get along with people, and try to be more understanding of others over the next couple of weeks. Therefore my goals for the Pisces Full Moon will include:

            Meditating nightly. I’ve been trying to get back into the routine, and will continue working on it. I can usually manage two-to-four minutes, and hope that within a couple more months, I can get back to five-to-ten minutes. Also I’m going to try to find somewhere on campus that I can at least sit and breath for a few minutes (without being disturbed).

            Get back into journaling and working on my reboot break and transition plan. The birthday is happening soon, and then I will be looking down my last year of my thirties—it’s time to seriously plan for the second half of my life.

            In connection with number two—figure out how to divide things between different days and work on my time management (plan things out).

But over all remember: Progress over Perfection.

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A review of August’s Aquarius Full Moon Goals

So the moon is going to be transitioning into Pisces either last night (which makes it a full moon on Friday the 13th) or tonight—but it all depends on where you are in the world. So September is almost halfway over, and in a week or so I’ll be staring down my last year of my thirties.

But for now, it means looking back at the goals that I set during the Aquarius full moon, and seeing how I did with each of them.

My goals for the Aquarius Full Moon included:

            Evening meditations

            Getting back into a workout routine

            Working on my reboot break and transition plans

So how did I do with each of them?

I’ve been okay at doing my evening meditations, even if it is only for two or three minutes, though there might have been a night or two that I skipped my meditations. I’m slowly being able to focus more on my breathing than the thoughts racing through my mind. Though I’m still working on the length of time I spend meditating—there are some nights where I can’t seem to focus and that’s okay. Still working on trying to find the quiet spot at work that I can go, sit and just be for a while (without anyone really knowing where I am, but at the same time not leaving campus). So this is still a minor work in progress.

Currently my workout routine has been mainly walking either on campus during the week, or walking around Boomer Lake on the weekends (the temperatures are finally decent in the mornings for a walk). I still want to get back into a resistance/cardio routine, but so far haven’t figure out the best timing with only about an hour and half between getting off of work, getting home, doing chores and then dinner time. After dinner, I have my evening routine before winding down before bed. So—yes I know that there are twenty-four hours in the day, and that I should easily be able to carve out thirty to forty minutes for a workout—I just haven’t figure out that time period/point yet.

In terms of my reboot break, it should be starting in roughly ten weeks—this is the approximate time in which my current job contract ends. Ending a job (without another set up) right before the holidays may seem strange and crazy—but that is exactly what I need to do. I need to mainly focus on myself and things that will help me go forward, and while I could probably gain a little more expertise in my current position (by taking on more responsibilities), there are no promotions or career movements within the position.

The first week of the reboot break will be semi-relaxing (mainly towards the end—which is the holidays), but at the beginning I’m going to try to get some of my storage unit in order (start repacking boxes that are falling apart), and seeing what I can maybe get rid of or sell. At the same time, I’m going to try to start paring back on the belongings I have at my parents’ place—that way when I do find a job, it won’t take that long to move the other belongings to storage unit (and that way easier to get on the moving truck).

After getting things in order, that is when I plan on devoting more time to personal/professional development and my transition plan. I have ideas of what I would possibly like to do outside of academia—I have a list of different skills for each of those areas, and have actually started to highlight what I think are the skills I should possibly try to start learning on my own.

The biggest thing though is going to be starting to network and be more active on linkedin, and figuring out where I would like to live and work (biotech hubs), and go from there. I’m hoping that by mid-December I’ll have at least three different ideas down on paths I would like to possibly take—and then I’ll have to start working my way on the three paths and see where they lead me in 2020.

So small steps were made with all three goals this past month. I’m thinking that I might start trying to track things in a journal again, but limit what I have listed daily. That way instead of trying to tackle four or five different areas everyday I can focus on one or two, and then the next day a different set. This will help curtail both the boredom that at times arises, and also the anxiety of trying to get too many things done in a very short period of time.

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Photography Challenge Day 200: The adult praying mantis (short post)

Wow, I’ve made it (more or less) two hundred days of posting a different photograph. Now if I can just start doing a more different themes, I’d be even more impressed with myself–but hey, that can possibly be the next challenge. That’s a good idea prompt–can I come up with a minimum of three hundred and sixty-five (or six) different ideas for pictures??

Anyway the winner of day two hundred–is an adult praying mantis. I’m pretty certain that it isn’t related to the one I saw the week before–unless it had gone through like six-to-eight metamorphoses in a very short period of time.

Adult praying mantis

So we were sitting outside Saturday, when I noticed that we had company on the inside of the umbrella. There was this adult praying mantis that was just hanging out on one of the support arms of the umbrella.

It moved a little

It started really moving around towards the end of the day, and I’m assuming that as the temperatures dropped down to a bearable range, it headed out to hunt for it’s meal.

Since I’ve started to pay more attention to my surroundings, trying to find unique things to photograph–I’ve seen more on the insect side of things than I normally would have paid attention to sitting outside. I’m sure I would have noticed the praying mantis, but I may not have taken it’s picture.

But since I’ve seen two this year, it will be interesting to keep an eye out and see how many will be making an appearance in the spring.

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Photography Challenge Day 199: Odds and Ends

So since I couldn’t just pick one or two pictures to share today, the theme is odds and ends. Basically a little bit of several things–namely insects, arthropods, and maybe either some fungi or a bird or two. In other words–it will be mainly pictures, with a few words here and there.

Viceroy butterfly

I did see a Viceroy butterfly on my morning walk the other day going around Boomer Lake. It was just sitting on the one edge of the bridge soaking up some morning sun before looking for food.

Heron flying overhead

I’m also pretty certain that I got a picture of a green heron in flight. The body type is right for them, and they’re a dark color. It just didn’t help that they had the sun at their back, making it hard to see the actual green color of their feathers.

Red-spotted Purple Admiral Butterfly

I managed to get a good picture of an red-spotted purple admiral this weekend as well. Luckily I spotted one on the street (and there weren’t any cars coming).

Bee on the flowers

Our decorative grass is flowering, and that means I’m starting to see some bees in the backyard again this fall. It’s always nice to see them.

Creepy little spider

Then I noticed that there was this little spider spinning it’s web between the leaves of some of the plants.

So these are just a few of the other pictures that I took this weekend (and I still have others I can share). Most of the pictures are nature/wildlife, as that is what I’m currently most comfortable trying to photograph. Though this fall/winter I may start branching out and starting to do some architecture shots as well. But mainly I’m focusing on enjoying a hobby, and maybe figuring out how to fit in daily with everything else.

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Photography Challenge Day 198: The chives have flowered

So the winner of today’s photography challenge are the flowers of the chive plant, and the numerous different insects that have visited them so far.

One of the several stalks of chive flowers

There have been numerous different insects on the chive flowers so far, though I haven’t been keeping count (or actually watch for a specific amount of time).

One species of wasp on the flowers.

This summer I’ve seen a couple of different wasps, and some flies. I’m pretty sure that the butterflies are coming through–just not that often when I’m around with my camera.

Mating wasps on the flowers??

So it looks like some of the wasps were also potentially mating on the flowers as well–I thought that this was a really weird looking wasp. Once I got the pictures on the computer–it looks likes two wasps (or other flying insects) potentially were mating (or one was cannibalizing the other).

Butterfly on the flowers

Though this one butterfly did come through the yard on Saturday, and stopped on the flowers long enough for me to get a couple of pictures of it. I also think that this is the silvery checkerspot butterfly (more on this in another post).

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