Really red

Scarlet tanager singing his three-part song from the top of an oak tree. Could’ve been an entry in last week’s WordPress Photo Challenge, but ran out of time to post. Love seeing this fellow in our green canopy.

Summer tanager.
REALLY RED — Summer Tanager’s plumage stands out against the new foliage and catkins of this oak tree.

She’s a whopper!

This substantial lady was identified as Arkansas’ largest wolf spider, Hogna carolinensis. My hand is next to her in the second photo for scale. Thanks to both Dr. John Hopkins, extension entomologist for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, and Dr. Jeffrey Barnes, curator o the University of Arkansas Arthropod Museum for the ID. 


Big spider.
BIG SPIDER — Wolf spider resting in the shade of a street sign on the campus of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
Big spider with hand.
FOR SCALE — Photographer’s hand next to this large female for scale.

Graceful grapes

I love the shape of grape leaves — deeply lobed, with lovely curves and points and essential to the beautiful fruit they will eventually help create. They are especially beautiful in their youth — blushing, satiny and untouched by disfiguring phylloxera or other pests.

Grapevine tendril
CURVACEOUS — Young tendril curves on itself.
Young grape leaves.
LEAFING OUT — Young grape leaves along the ground.

An iris evening

Blooming of the crested iris is a moment I look forward to every spring. Last year, they bloomed midweek and by the time the weekend, and my first opportunity to shoot arrived, the delicate blooms were spent. Not so this year — we saw them on the way home this evening. Once home, threw on a pair of sneakers and ran down the hill with camera in hand. Handholding longish exposures in the fading light was a challenge, but well worth the effort.

Crested iris blooming.
Crested Iris in the woods this evening.



Hummingbird season has started here in central Arkansas, but sadly, we have lost one of our regular visitors, probably due an crash with our living room window. Finding him on the sidewalk presented a rare opportunity to take a closer look at one of these incredible birds. The iridescent plumage was almost unreal — like metal.  RIP Napoleon II.

Hummingbird feathers
FEATHERS — Closeup of ruby throated hummingbird feathers.