White Out at Squaw Creek NWR

White Out!
White Out!

Steve and I took advantage of a long holiday break by making a pilgrimage to Squaw Creek NWR. ¬†Even though the temps were in the 50s and 60s, you can see we still had white out conditions… ūüėČ

Take a look at the video below…

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Birds of Quivira – Final Thoughts

A Muddy Profusion
A Muddy Profusion

Today I am presenting the final images that I plan on sharing from the trip that Steve and I made to Quivira NWR way back this past May.

Godwits and A Dowitcher
Godwits and A Dowitcher

These Hudsonian Godwits were a pleasure to watch.  See below for a shot of them in rest.

Godwits
Godwits

Surprisingly, we seemed to have more Yellow-headed Blackbirds than Red-winged, but we did have plenty of Red-winged to watch as well.

Red-winged Blackbird
Red-winged Blackbird

No trip to the grasslands is complete without a Quail…

Bobwhite Quail
Bobwhite Quail

We watched this female/juvenile Yellow Warbler take a bath in one of the creeks that run through the reserve.

Yellow Warbler
Yellow Warbler

What a collection of birds, photos and memories these few days in the Kingdom of Quivira provided. ¬†We can’t wait to visit again.

Kingdom of Quivira
Kingdom of Quivira

-OZB

Missouri’s Night Wanderers – The Striped Bark Scorpion

Glowing Death (If You are a Bug)
Glowing Death (If You are a Bug)

For today’s post I am presenting a few photos taken of a very common arachnid found in glades and drier forests of southern Missouri – the Striped Bark Scorpion. ¬†No, there is no reason to fear these secretive scorpions; they are only dangerous if you happen to be an arthropod smaller than they are. ¬†They are, however, much more common than I ever would have expected. ¬†Steve and I had much success finding them in the glades of Hughes Mountain Natural Area this past summer. ¬†Wait until the sun has well set, turn on your blacklight and walk around for a while. ¬†We were finding them easily every few steps.

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The Striped Bark Sorpion

The photo above shows what they look like to the naked eye (illuminated by flash).  These guys are extremely fast as well as stealthy.  The use of blacklight is almost mandatory to efficiently find them.  These lights as well as a typical flashlight/torch brings all sorts of other arthropod visitors to the glade top as well.

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So, why do they glow under ultraviolet light? ¬†This is an interesting question that has not yet been satisfactory answered by those who study these creatures. ¬†Hypothesis range from helping¬†to attract prey, to aiding in their ability to see and sense light. ¬†I took the photo above soon after we watched this guy sprint approximately a meter towards us in the blink of an eye. ¬†At the time, Steve and I assumed it was a defensive run (or lunge) in reaction to us being near it. ¬†It was not until days later that I discovered ¬†what the real purpose of that dash had been…

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Can you see what that reason was? ¬†Here’s a closer look…

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Yes, I believe its dash was in capturing a prey – this small wolf spider – probably the only other predator that might be as common or more common than the scorpions themselves in this nocturnal food web.

Thanks for visiting…
OZB

 

Birds of the Marsh

Common Yellowthroat
Common Yellowthroat

Missouri marshes are a great place to find a number of bird species in late summer and early fall.  This Common Yellowthroat, a species of wood warbler, was photographed this August at Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary.  This guy was packing Mayfly in his beak two or three at a time to bring back to the hungry chicks in the nest.

Caspian Tern
Caspian Tern

A visitor to Missouri’s marshes during migration, the Caspian Tern will always take advantage of the easy fishing that can be found at Riverlands and surrounding wildlife refuges along our great rivers.

Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron

Anyone who spent any amount of time in the marsh will know the Great Blue Heron.  This giant, yet leery bird is a common site, hunting for fish or any other vertebrate it can catch.

Dickcissel
Dickcissel

A very common nester in Missouri marshes and fields, the Dickcissel advertises its presence with its incessant song.

Marsh Wren
Marsh Wren

So attached to the Marsh, they named the bird after it.  The Marsh Wren sings its musical song throughout the day and is quite territorial.