A smattering

Had an outing the other day which wasn’t terribly productive, though it did net a handful of useful images. More importantly, it didn’t feature one treefrog in the least! So you get a little break here.

Can’t say the same about mantids, though,,,

pregnant female Carolina mantis Stagmomantis carolina seen in silhouette
A Carolina mantis (Stagmomantis carolina,) ready to lay down a badass ootheca track, was spotted in the morning when the light wasn’t great, so I dropped lower and used the sky for a silhouette. She was observed for a short while to see if she felt inclined to start the egg-laying process, but apparently not – being this close likely didn’t speed those urges along. But I did shoot a more normal perspective in the existing light with a boost to the ISO, and a slight tweak to the color register afterward to account for the blue shade of the, um, shade.

pregnant female Carolina mantis Stagmomantis carolina in deep shade
I’ve been checking over the property at Walkabout Estates, and so far have found no sign of anyone looking to produce an egg sac, but the season ain’t over yet. We’ll see what happens.

The light peeked through the trees here and there, permitting some use of the spotlighting, one of which you’ll see a little later on. But this is another of the compositions that I shot while looking for decent subjects.

sea oat Uniola paniculata seeds and shadow
These are sea oats (Uniola paniculata,) though we’re a long ways from the sea, this being along the Eno River. They don’t have to be close to the sea, they just do well in salt spray and sandy conditions, so they’re happy in sand dunes and often used to stabilize them. But that one leaf catching the sun and the distinct shadow attracted my attention. Not great – a little too cluttered and contrasty, but hey, I was making the effort. Well, okay, it was more like playing around.

Like this:

spread of trees agaisnt sky with surrounding rocks
Actually, take a second to look carefully at this one. Go on. I’m not typing anything more until you do.

Okay, all set? Did anything look a little off? Was it hard to determine why some of the details seemed odd? Do you now feel your reality is crumbling all around you, and starting to remember that idiotic philosophy of being stuff that someone tried to impress you with years ago? No? Oh… okay then. I thought it might, but…

You may have gotten the impression that I was shooting straight up along a rock face, but the rocks at the bottom seemed a bit off, not to mention the contrast of the trees – or not, whatever. I was just dicking around. The original is below.

reflection of trees in smooth pool
I saw the smoothness of the water in this small pool, with the reflection of the prominent tree, and shot it for giggles, then tweaked it a bit once back home. Not just inverting it, but adjusting the color and contrast to account for the changes that reflections make. Fascinating, right?

Moving on.

female jumping spider possibly Phidippus mystaceus atop dried leaf egg shelter
I didn’t get a good enough angle on this jumping spider to snag identifying details, but it is most likely genus Phidippus anyway, and possibly even a Phidippus mystaceus, or high-eyelashed jumping spider – wild guess, so don’t quote me. It is definitely a female, however, and the cluster of dried leaves were all gathered together with silk, so likely it housed her egg sac, and she was perched there to protect it. You might think being out in the open wasn’t the best of moves, but this is a tight closeup and tighter crop, since she was 12-15mm long or so, and actually quite subtle against the leaves. As prominent as those eyes look here, from a normal viewing distance of a meter or two, she was only a mottled grey patch against the brown leaves, but that was enough of an anachronism to make me look closer.

And finally, what’s a river outing without a heron?

great blue heron Ardea herodias in profile along Eno River
A great blue heron (Ardea herodias) was spotted briefly as it flew overhead up the river, probably spooked by a noisy group of college students hiking ahead, but on the return leg this one was found standing complacently in the river despite the recent passage of some younger, yet still loud, kids (it amazes me how few people grasp the idea that being quiet while out in nature is not only more polite to fellow hikers, but will generate a lot more wildlife encounters.) I have more than enough heron photos, but I liked the unkempt nature of this one’s feathers, apparently having had a hard night – it was Saturday morning, after all. Naaah, I keed, this is likely evidence of recent fishing, plunging its head and neck well under the surface and not having done a ruffle and preen since. Or it could be a teenager thinking this looks cool – you know there’s no comprehending the mind of a teenager. The heron does have that kind of sullen glare of that age group. But naaahh – the posture’s too good.

[Yeah, I’m old, I get to do this. Obligated, even.]

Anyway, that was about all that was worthwhile for this trip. Better luck next time, though I honestly can’t complain about my progress this year.