Weekly photo challenge: Horizon

Horizons can be open or cluttered, vast or close.

Horizons we enjoyed seeing this week:

And of course, the event horizon for horizon photos: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/10/25/weekly-photo-challenge-horizon/

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The monarch is back!

The monarchs are back. Well, at least one monarch. This one was trying to rest in the goldenrod this morning, but found himself being buffeted by breezes, honey bees, wasps and other pollinators. You can see the wear on his wings — appearing as scratches in some of his orange areas.

 

Garden snail

Little garden snails are common here on top of the mountain. This one was unusual in its size, about .75 inches in diameter, and the ridges along its spiral. Most of the shells we find are much smaller, smooth and transparent.

Vacant garden snail shell
Vacant garden snail shell.

On the half shell

Walked out on the deck to water the plants one morning and saw a grasshopper. Not an unusual thing, since our yard is a grasshopper haven. However, upon closer inspection,  this neat and upright shell was all that remained from someone’s dinner.

Grasshopper, post dinner.
Grasshopper, post dinner.

Eastern and west

Another attempt at shooting the night sky. Through the viewfinder it appeared as if the tree was strung with tiny white lights, but it turned out many of the leaves on this struggling oak had their own glint.  Tonight, we’ll stay up to see Mars, the Orionids and maybe, just maybe, catch a glimpse of Comet Ison.  (The Waiting for Ison blog has lovely  illustrations showing what you can expect to see and when, in the night sky.)

Night Sky looking east
Eastern sky last night.
Moonset and sunrise
Western sky this morning with gibbous moon and 360 degree pink ring around the horizon.  

Life and death in the goldenrod, part I

We keep a patch of giant goldenrod growing at the front of the house to provide a way station for visiting monarch butterflies, but other insects make themselves at home there, including all manner of bees, wasps and wheelbugs. Wheelbugs, named for the cogged half wheel atop their armor, lay in wait in the yellow flowers, stalking their prey. The wheelbug in the top shot had caught a bumble bee and dragged it at least 5-6 feet before I stopped following it. The one in the second photo snagged a wasp.

The insects insert their beak into the prey, injecting a fluid that paralyzes and dissolves the victim’s insides, which accounts for why there seemed to be no fight left in either the bee or wasp.

Unrelated note — this is our 700th post!

Wheelbug dragging off prey.
Wheelbug, dusted with yellow pollen from the goldenrods, drags its prey.
Wheelbug eating wasp.
Inverted wheelbug eating wasp. Its cogged wheel can be seen running along its back.
In profile, you can see the wheel.
In profile, you can see the wheel.

Autumn colors 2013

Here it is late October and the Ouachitas are just beginning to turn.  Even though the woods are mostly green, there’s still plenty of autumn color around. Photos taken today and yesterday.

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