Dragonfly Cleared for Landing

Dragonfly in flight

I’m taking a summer break from my writing here at the blog, to finish some creative projects. I’ll be back in the fall — maybe a bit sooner. Until then … I’ll be posting some of my favorite photos and photo-tunes in this spot. (Ziggy Marley, today). Thanks, my friends, for sticking around and for […]

Coexisting with Ants (& Others)


If you engage online discussions on animal and wildlife issues, sooner or later you’ll encounter the troll who has something like this to say: “You Bambi freaks are such hipocritical [sic] idiots. You think *%@# animals are more important than humans but when rats and bugs infest your pathetic houses you’re the first killers.” Okay, […]

Return to the Mother Ship


This was a serendipitous capture … getting the two honey bees in a straight line, and in the same plane of focus. I was photographing a single, pollen-soaked bee when the other entered the frame and queued up behind. Whenever I see bees on a slow approach to sunflowers, I can’t help but think of […]

The Tenacity of Spiders


This is a re-post from September 2010. We’re coming upon spider and web season in Seattle, and I haven’t captured another video of web building since I shot this one. At the time, we were staying with friends who have a lush, Northwest garden — ample habitat for garden spiders, Northern Flickers, chipmunks and the […]

Staging “Nature” Shots


A friend of mine recommended 500px as an alternative to Flickr. Between Flickr, Facebook, Linked In and my inactive Twitter account, I’m maxed out on social networking, something I’ve never been all that hot on, anyway. But, I meandered over to 500px because the interface is supposedly beautiful, and the community gets rave reviews. The […]

Yellow Woolly Bear

Yellow Woolly Bear 300

My caterpillar ID is rusty, to say the least, so a Flickr user helped me identify this caterpillar as a Yellow woolly bear or Spilosoma virginica — destined to become a tiger moth. I posted about a different variety of woolly bear after a trip to Bodega Head last year where we got some close […]

Spring Spiderlings

Robin in Berry Bush

I saw what looked like a clump of mud sticking to the wall outside my kitchen window. It looked, at first, like the remnant of a Cliff Swallow nest . . . the muddy scars I saw frequently in the Bay Area — the artifacts of their once viable mud mortar homes. But some part […]

House Fly Cafe

House Fly Saliva and Digestions

Could be a diner shuttered by the Health Department, or . . . A house fly doing what house flies do: bringing up saliva to liquefy food. Flies tend to stand still through their moments of digestion, making macros of this phenomenon possible. Shot on a friend’s porch, after a rain deluge, with my Panasonic […]



A noiseless, patient spider,
I mark’d, where on a little promontory it stood isolated;
Mark’d how, to explore the vacant, vast surrounding,
It launch’d forth filament, filament, filament out of itself;

The Silky Wonders of Wunderlich

Promyrmekiaphila Burrow With Door Closed -

Picking up from my previous post — about the rare and elusive Linyphia Vaudvillea … here are a few additional spider (Araneae) observations from our walk at Wunderlich Park in Woodside. I’ve perused countless field guides and websites on California spiders but am still unable to identify the aforementioned species. Other spiders and webs are […]

Puttin’ on the Ritz . . . Spider Style

Tophat in a Web - ©ingridtaylar

I didn’t actually see the Vaudevillian face as I shot the spider image (below). Hugh and I were wandering through Wunderlich Park in Woodside (California), impressed by the miles of spider silk, strung like hammocks over the forest. Some were laid in sheets, some were funnel webs. (I’ll write a bit more on the landscape […]

Wasp Art

Wasp Nest – ©ingridtaylar I didn’t see it this way through the viewfinder — the aquarelle tone and texture of this wasp nest, clutching the painted boards. (Just as I didn’t see the pixie face of a blue damselfly I’d been shooting over a pond — until I offloaded those giant orbs-for-eyes onto my Mac.) […]

Checkerspot Anonymity

These are checkerspot butterflies for sure. But when I originally posted the possibility of “Bay” checkerspot on the first photo (taken at Sibley), an astute commenter at Flickr corrected my ID: “Unfortunately that is not a Bay checkerspot butterfly.” Simple as that. Got it. Endangered, not likely. If it had been a Bay checkerspot, it […]

The Short Story of the California Red-Backed Jumping Spider

Blur of a Red-Backed Jumping Spider

Phidippus johnsoni – Red-Backed Jumping Spider Edited to add (7/11/11): Thanks to a couple of knowledgeable and generous commenters (below) the positive ID on this jumping spider is “Ms.” ——————— I found this little Mr. (or Ms.) on the kitchen ceiling a few days ago. Before I could grab my telephoto to see precisely what […]

A Cooperative Chalcedon Checkerspot

Chalcedon Checkerspot - © Ingrid Taylar

I’ve only hiked Gwin Canyon in the East Bay one time. That’s because on my way down, like a knucklehead, I was so enamored with the scene — the aromas of fennel, the calls of wild turkeys (or were they peacocks? I could swear) — the butterflies and bumble bees swarming wildflowers — that I […]

Bay Area Painted Lady Butterflies Are Back

Painted Lady Butterfly - © Ingrid Taylar

Bay Area residents are seeing them in the hundreds and thousands, these winged Painted Ladies making their way north on a regular migration. I didn’t realize they were pushing on through until we saw a blanket of these vivid wings swaying atop fruit blossoms. They honored us with a few poses before flitting up to […]