Not award-winners

unknown berry against sunset skyIt could have been snow storms at this time of year, but it isn’t – it’s just rain, though lots of it. So even when I have a little time to shoot, it’s hard to find something to work with. Nonetheless, I’m making the effort, though not too much of what I’m producing would be candidates for any awards. Even when I got out as the sunset looked promising, like above, the sky didn’t develop towards anything impressive, and I was forced to try and make the most out of the faint color and one of those still-unidentified berries.

potentially turkey tail mushrooms, but who knows?And fungi – remember what I said about rain and warm temperatures? While I shot these a few days ago, today’s Earth Science Picture of the Day indicates that these may be either turkey tail mushrooms or false turkey tail mushrooms – I was a poor naturalist and did not look under the caps for the distinguishing feature. Or it may not be related to either species – mycology has never been my thing, though I was careful not to admit this on dates and deftly changed the subject whenever it came up. This might explain a lot…

For this particular outing, the sun refused to come out until it was over, and there was even a brief rain shower, so the light wasn’t providing a lot of options. Annnndddd as I was checking the draft right now before adding more, I just hit the ‘Publish’ button instead of the ‘Preview,’ so early viewers or those with RSS feeds are going to get confused. I’m sure I have a lot of people to apologize to…

unidentified fungi looking real coolThis form of fungi, growing off the side of a still-standing trunk, was much more interesting, and I did a number of perspectives. Brighter light would have made shooting a little easier, since I could go with a smaller aperture at least, but I don’t think direct light would have improved matters any, and likely would have made things much worse, increasing contrast and shadow depth. Plus, any kind of fungus in bright light is slightly anachronistic – we always associate such growth with shadowy areas, deep forest canopies and places where witches hang out. Truth be told, I saw no witches – or at least, none that I knew of. Since this was a park in Carrboro, a town which possibly has the highest percentage of wiccans and hipsters in North Carolina, it’s possible I saw more than I suspected. Wiccans aren’t quite as obvious as hipsters…

unidentified arthropod eggs, possibly wheel bugDespite the conditions, I did not ignore my creepy callings, i.e., the arthropods. On the side of a tree I spotted this patch of eggs, which I’m fairly certain are from a species of assassin bug, probably a wheel bug (Arilus cristatus.) I had photographed such eggs hatching once before – in fact, the exact same patch as seen in those linked photos, since Jim Kramer is a friend of mine and those were in his yard, so he could watch for their hatching routinely, and called me when it was happening. I don’t have that resource this time around, and the eggs seen here are far enough away that I won’t be able to check very often, so it will only be with extreme luck that I might see these (or others) hatching. But if you want to see what the adult looks like, check here.

unidentified beetle on longneedle pine budsAnd another, because it was obvious and semi-fartsy. You’d think those pale legs would make the species easy to identify, but a quick search has turned up nothing even remotely similar, so I can’t tell you what this is. A lot of arthropod species I identify for blog posts, but everything that I shoot I have to catalog, and I endeavor to correctly identify them all. As you might imagine, this can be tedious and ridiculously time-consuming – but perhaps your imagination isn’t completely accurate. Even when finding a photo that looks like a match, this doesn’t mean there aren’t eighteen subspecies identified only by how many antenna segments they have or the length of their hind leg segments (I am not being silly – those are both key factors that I’ve run across for other species.) So my arthropod database, listing all the attributes of my photo stock, has a ‘confidence’ column; I may have a name, but still have a low confidence that it is that exact species. And this one, of course, I have nothing for. Come to think of it, I have only tentative IDs for a couple of the images in this post, and am positive of none. Well, that just made me feel on top of things this evening…

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