February 24, 2018

Martha O'Kennon

Yes, indeedy- dee- dee. The last blog from here was indeed written January 28th, 2018. A little bit of history. When I first starting putting this blog together into a website of its own, I didn't even consider looking out for winter visitors. The following two winters, there were enough critters out there for a blog at most two or three weeks apart. But this February wavered between brutally cold and once in a while a few warmer days. That means I was able to take only a few pictures in that month, and the ones that did show up were about an eighth of an inch long and about a tenth of that wide - about 1/80th of an inch wide. For the metric adherents, that's 2 mm long. Of course you have to realize that even though such a critter was very hard to shoot but consider the bragging factor when you can tell someone how small the beastie was but that you had been able to spy it with your little eye.

Now that it's the end of February and actually into March, we are actually just beginning to see the right kinds of things coming along about the right time of month. For instance, we are now seeing the winter aconites (The latest of the ones donated by Betty Beese about 20 years ago!). Here are a couple of the little patches I saw this week. They actually are not too far off from what was out last year. The last picture was taken with my new camera. One thing that I notice is that the picture is actually packed with a lot more information - try clicking on it once, twice, and see how pixel-rich the picture is. I hope to get to be better at aiming eventually. :-)

Remember that there is information in the name of the file for each image. You can see it by mousing over the image - look at the lower left of the screen. Or you can click on the image to get to the (usually) larger image. Then the info is displayed in the address line above. Sometimes the second click will actually display a different view of the original image.

Ants were pretty much hiding out for most of this month. But a couple of days ago, there was this nice one. What were much more in evidence was the springtails. Remember them? They are the tiny characters mentioned above, which are about 2mm long. This does mean that using my regular camera all the springtails were quite small and a little fuzzy when enlarged to fill a picture window in here. So, the basic picture is larger in pixels, and (bad) The parts that are in focus look strange next to the unfocused bits. There IS a program which one can use to blend several copies of a picture, each with its own differences in depth of field, which I am in the midst of installing.

Moving on from springtails to beetles, here is a smaller rove beetle than the one we saw a month ago. The second image is probably the same beetle but looks a bit off. Third is a big old beetle that one of my neighbors gave me last year, but taken with the new camera after quite a few trials.

Here is a new leafhopper, the first one since the blog of January 28. Then a pond scene showing the development of the littler fish that were born in 2016. You can also see the lily plant's folded leaf buds opening out from the bottom. All these pictures were taken with the older camera.

Here are some inchworm (looper) pictures. The second and third were all taken with the newer camera. You can see in the first one, the depth of field is more nearly even across the image. The second and third of these images are good examples of one of the problems with the more sensitive camera: Part of the picture is closer to the camera and part farther away, so that different parts show up in different focus. That's why I have to install the "lightroom" software - to be able to level out the areas of focus.

Here is the first midge I've seen this season. It is a male, as witness the furry furry antennae. Picture three shows a pillbug, close to the first of the season. I bet you can guess which camera was used on which of these pictures. (1,2: new); (3: old)

The psyllids are also coming back. Both images were shot with the older camera.

The day I came home with the new camera, this wonderful ground crab spider was waiting for me. First is a shot of her made with the older camera, the rest with the new camera. Again, we see the difference in depth of field from shot to shot. In the second and third images, you can fairly easily make out the four eyes on top of the head.

We end up with the first snowdrop image. So far they are almost on schedule in the back yard. The neighbors to the south have a big sunny patch filled with snowdrops!

Love, Martha

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copyright Martha O'Kennon 2017