Thursday, June 16, 2011

Wild Wildlife: They’re Everywhere! They’re Everywhere!

Summer is here—in fact has been here, in DC, for some time now—and the world is full of birds and bees and other insects. The zoo is full of them, too, so that everywhere I walk, I see catbirds fighting for territory, grackle fledglings puffing themselves up to gigantic proportions as they beg for food, and crows being harried by various smaller birds. If I stay in one place for a while and lean in towards a flower or plant or tree (much to the alarm of the other zoo visitors), I’ll see streams of ants and beetles, buzzing congregations of bees, and flurries of butterflies. Some days it’s more fun to focus my attention and camera on these than on the official zoo residents—partly because it’s often more of a challenge to get good photos of them, partly because I enjoy the smug feeling of having spotted organisms that almost no one else in the zoo ever notices.

I would like to take the time to really observe these various species’ behavior, and maybe I’ll have some opportunities to do so this summer (unless it’s prohibitively hot, in which case I’ll take the time to lie very still in an air-conditioned room while moaning plaintively). So far, though, I can only report on the aesthetic interest and appeal of the wildlife I saw.

For example: notice anything different about this daisy?

That’s right—it’s a doubled daisy, two flowers fused into one! I wonder if it attracts more pollinators than its fellows—and, if so, I wonder if the doubling trait is hereditary and could be selected for…

Or how about this lovely guy that I noticed on my way home as it wandered the leaves of a honey locust?

It’s probably some sort of horrible evil pest, but it’s just so cute—! (That’s right; just call me the queen of zoological objectivity.)

There’s something thrilling about being vividly reminded that every inch of the natural world is now teeming—seething—with life, and that the animals all around me are a far more diverse and plentiful group than I soemtimes realize. So, along with more entries on lemurs and lions and flamingos, expect more frequent updates on the other inhabitants of the zoo and neighborhood.

{A note: I do write all text and take all pictures. Please do not reproduce either without my permission.}

1 comment:

Anca said...

Lovely post! I love to look at the green bees on the bittersweet and the bumblebees getting drunk and rolling around in the rugosa roses. Less pleasant has been the high bird predation this season. Did Patti tell you that Kevin claps his hands at the corpses and instructs them to "wake up!" "Wake up!" If only.

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