Nature Trail Tour - July, 2009
Take a virtual tour of the Sibley Nature Tour!
[Additional Tours: February, 2006 | April, 2006 | May, 2006 | July, 2006 | August, 2006 | October, 2006 | January, 2007 | February, 2007 | April, 2007 | May, 2007 | June, 2007 | July, 2007 | August, 2007 | September, 2007 | October, 2007 | January, 2008 | December, 2007 | March, 2008 | July, 2008 | September, 2008 | November, 2008 | January, 2009 | February, 2009 | March, 2009 | April, 2009 | May, 2009 | June, 2009]
11 year old Terrance Crump, along with an intern at Sibley, took these photographs. Eight inches of rain fell in 10 days during July.
Click on each image to see a larger version; use your browser's "Back" button to return to this page.
After early morning rains, a beetle larvae scurried across open ground, looking for a drier place to return underground.
Small ants continually bit the beetle larvae, causing it to writhe and twist, but it kept shaking the ants off and was able to escape.
A dragonfly tilted its wings to dry off in the morning sun.
A spider caught a flying ant – a just mated queen – before it returned to the ground and began digging to lay eggs. Terrance has a great eye!
Giant sacaton grass at the Sibley Pond shimmered with the moisture in the early morning.
The harvester ants busily cleaned out their nest after the rain.
Velvet mites were busy making new tunnels. This one went in...
...and came out, pushing dirt.
The kangaroo rats and other rodents busily cleaned their holes in the morning, too.
Rodent hole floors were covered with green algae.
A small earthern ball was found… was it the work of a dung beetle?
A dung beetle buried a rabbit pellet.
After the dung beetle has done his work, the mound of dirt above his dung dries out, while the surrounding soil stays moist.
Many areas had 3 or more whitish mounds of dirt in every square foot.
The species of dung beetle normally works on rabbit dung, but this male and female rolled a predator’s dung without shaping it. The female just rode while the male rolled.
She would be on the dung chunk, even when it rolled on top of her.
The mighty male kept the chunk rolling, but notice the fine silk line that appears to be connected to his posterior.
When the beetles were flipped over, the same line was visible, and on the other, were the white globs eggs, for they glistened with moisture.
The beetle pair then began digging a hole near the chunk, and after a few minutes, the chunk rolled on top of them, and then the chunk slowly sunk out of sight.
When the chunk was removed, the beetles appeared to be mating.
The tiny sugar ants made fresh mound with the moist dirt, creating a strikingly shaped crater.
Down at the pond, the playa vegetation glowed with many subtle colors of green.
Another ant cluster after another rain.
Why is there a smaller species of ant with the harvester ants? Does it live symbiotically with the harvesters? Or was it there to glean any waste hauled out of the hole?
The blueweed had all gone to seed, showing off dark black balls of seed.
A coot walked on the dock, showing off his weird feet.
Croton had tiny raindrops still glistening on its leaves.
Croton and grass spotted ground turned green with the cryptogamic crust algae components.
Tiquilia has tiny blue blossoms, but none of the Sibley staff had ever noticed the pink buds of the flowers.
Tasajillo fruit began to turn ripe in July, and leaffooted bug nymphs immediately appeared.
The leaffooted bug nymphs have an intricate pattern on their back. They will suck the juices of the green berries and stems, causing some fungi and bacteria to become present, and part of the tasajillo will die, but not all of it.
Nightshade rarely has insect pests, but this one suffered from an unknown visitor.
The Orthemis ferruginea dragonfly can be found far from the pond.
The portulaca kept growing from the rain, losing the red coloring of the seedlings the month before.
One rainlily poked its green seed capsules above the carpet of portulaca seedlings.
The nightshade blooms had rain drops on the petals early in the morning.
Yucca campestris blooms are almost spherical, unlike the Yucca constricta blossoms that are longer than they are wide.
In a scientific study, Michael Nickell of Sibley put a roadkilled squirrel under chicken wire to determine what insects would come to the rotting flesh. Some of the hair fell off, some holes appeared, and ants
Lots of ants!
After the initial ant swarm working on the carcass, the flesh became dried, and few insects came, even when the rains came.
The summer bug camp explored all of the trails at the Sibley Center. Many species were found, including two dozen species not recorded before at Sibley.
The bug camp inspected the animal carcass experiment.
Even in the middle of an almost bare field, insects could be found.
The camp students went off trail…way off trail!
They also investigated the aquatic insects.
And the insects found in the shade of trees.
Top of Page