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Amazing Nature - what has wowed you lately?

 
steward
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There are some just stunning, amazing examples of nature's creations and I think they are fun to "oooh" and "ahhh" over together.

This brilliantly blue bee is a solitary bee like a mason bee though is called a carpenter bee, or Xylocopa violacea, in Southeast Asia.


From The blue beauty with an impressive coat of fuzz.

Isn't she gorgeous?

Have you run across other amazing creatures lately? I'm not just talking insects here. Anything that captures your attention while on your rabbit trails across the interwebs.

Bonus points (apples!) if they are your own up-close-and-personal pics!

(I thought we already had a thread sorta like this somewhere here in meaningless drivel and I couldn't find it. If someone else finds it, we can merge them.)

 
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Here is an ant, that I chased around for forever and a day, trying to catch a pose.

*Rangely Colorado
20181219_164258.jpg
chasing down an ant
chasing down an ant
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Cool design on that ant, Tom. I don't think I've ever seen one like it!

 
Tom Digerness
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Can't call it recent, but here is a striped coral root, an orchid which has tapped into the mycorrhizal network and survives without any chlorophyll.

*Randolph Utah
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[Thumbnail for FB_IMG_1490807860665.jpg]
 
pollinator
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Beautiful Blue Bomber!!

At first I thought this was a toy(my dad loves to stick fake animals and plants everywhere...it's not as cool as he thinks it is) but here is the largest, most gorgeous dragonfly I've ever seen with my own two eyes:
Dragonfly.JPG
Green Dragonfly on Fake Silk Flower
Green Dragonfly on Fake Silk Flower
 
Tom Digerness
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Some thatching ants, which I assume are in some sort of colony split.

*Randolph Utah
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thatching ants
thatching ants
 
pollinator
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Came upon this sphinx moth caterpillar while harvesting sweet potatoes. It was beautiful. So I left it to live its life and I went to work on a different section of the potato patch. It was just too amazingly beautiful to kill, and besides, it hadn't done much damage. And I have plenty of sweet potatoes growing here.
image.jpeg
sphinx moth caterpillar
sphinx moth caterpillar
 
gardener
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what a great picture of thatching ants adding a layer to the nest Tom.
(check the ants at the middle of the photo that are placing a twig)

If I had found that , I probably would have spent a half hour watching them.
 
master pollinator
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Seeing a Bald Eagle in the wild for the first time, just about a half mile down the road about a half hour ago!  Wow!
 
gardener
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I'm afraid I don't have a picture of this but I have just been amazed at how fast water beetles and water boatman have moved into my new pond. The pond was just finished recently and the area was just a wet pasture with a small seasonal stream. But already the beetles and boatman have moved in. I'm really excited for other life to show up - it is amazing to me how fast nature responds to an abundance of water
 
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A stretch of path on our hike a few days ago...amazing to me how moss can withstand foot traffic.  

...and it was oh so soft for our tired feet.
IMG_5422-(2).JPG
moss covered path
moss covered path
 
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Hope you like these two from us in Australia
dAZ
3AEE1F61-3939-425A-BE1F-07F71232703E.jpeg
[Thumbnail for 3AEE1F61-3939-425A-BE1F-07F71232703E.jpeg]
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snake
snake
 
Dustin Rhodes
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[quote]Hope you like these two from us in Australia [/quote]

Nice Quoll! Who won the fight?
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Tom and Dustin, insects are so fascinating, aren't they? Speaking of, amazing caterpillar, Su! Awesome path, Judith! And wow, that Australian face-off is impressive!!

My friend, Mike Raabe, likes to photograph a family of raccoons that visits his back yard. I thought this shot was especially beautiful:



Though Mike's personal favorite of last year's raccoon pictures was this one (and yes, he feeds them!):


More of his nature photos are at Mike Raabe Photography Facebook page.



 
master pollinator
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We just got another snowstorm, and I have always said, "Maine looks good in white".

Maybe I have a thing for white though, I have been married three times after all! Of course whether the last two should have been wearing white is another whole story, but I digress.


White.JPG
Maine looks good in white
Maine looks good in white
 
pollinator
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Awesome pictures!  Here is one thats kinda cool - I love how the bright red flower is framed in these gnarly sycamore roots.  Anyone know the name?  Wish I did!
IMG_2092.jpg
bright red flower
bright red flower
IMG_2091.jpg
red flower framed by gnarly sycamore roots
red flower framed by gnarly sycamore roots
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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This seemed to fit this thread.



 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Okay, big WOW!

512-Year-Old Greenland Shark May Be the Oldest Living Vertebrate on Earth

“It’s important to keep in mind there’s some uncertainty with this estimate,” said Julius Nielsen, a Danish marine biologist and Ph.D. student who was part of the research team. “But even the lowest part of the age range—at least 272 years—still makes Greenland sharks the longest-living vertebrate known to science.”



Still wow!!

Julius-on-Instagram_male-greenland-shark.png
male greenland shark
male greenland shark
 
gardener
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This may sound stupid to most of you, but I caught a skunk in my box trap last week and I was absolutely stunned with his beautiful coat.  Something had been trying to dig under the chicken tractor to get at the girls and I assumed it was a raccoon or possum.  When I went out in the morning and saw a skunk, I thought:

A.  I didn't even know we had those in Los Angeles.  In the 25 years I've lived here, I've never seen one -- even dead on the road.

B.  How in the heck and I going to transport that to the wildlife corridor to release him without getting sprayed?

C.  Look how absolutely pure white that stripe in on him!  Stunning.  They must groom themselves constantly because he was so perfectly beautiful.

He's up in the hills now.  I hope he doesn't come back down into the city again -- he's not going to last too long down here.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Marco Banks wrote:This may sound stupid to most of you, but I caught a skunk in my box trap last week and I was absolutely stunned with his beautiful coat.  


Not stupid at all! They are stunning creatures, I agree. And I appreciate you challenge of how to trap and relocate one. I don't have any good tips for you there!

You reminded me that we trapped a packrat (aka a woodrat) in our house and I was surprised at how beautiful it was, too. Maybe not as beautiful as a skunk, but quite lovely in it's own way, to be sure.

Here, after searching all over for a living woodrat picture, is a picture from the American Society of Mammalogists that almost does it justice. (There are pictures of dead ones and the pelt of one here on permies for those who aren't squeamish.)



When we had woodrats living in our walls, I learned about "rat amber" which is a unique quality to their packrat stores. From the Montana Outdoors busy-tailed woodrat page:

OTHER SIGNS:
Cliffs and rock ledges that have been occupied by woodrats for a long time, sometimes hundreds of years, contain black or dark brown deposits that resemble geologic formations. Biologists have humorously named these formations, composed of metamorphosed pack rat droppings and urine, “amberat” and “ratite.”

ECOLOGICAL IMPORTANCE:
Pollen, leaves, animal bones, and other natural items trapped in the rocklike urine formations have been preserved as though in amber for thousands of years. Scientists who study amberat in the arid Southwest and Yellowstone National Park are learning much about changes in plant and animal communities over time.


Rather amazing and gross at the same time. (!!)

 
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Found this growing on my property in October. Monotropa uniflora (ghost plant or Indian pipe). It has no chlorophyll, instead getting it's energy from mycorrhizal fungi. The flower tips were slightly pink and you could smell them from yards away.

Apparently difficult to come by as the seeds need to land in just the right spot, so we left them in the hopes that they will keep popping up around the place.

 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Matthew Aspinwall wrote:Found this growing on my property in October. Monotropa uniflora (ghost plant or Indian pipe). It has no chlorophyll, instead getting it's energy from mycorrhizal fungi. The flower tips were slightly pink and you could smell them from yards away.



A good, floral smell?

Gorgeous photo!
 
Matthew Aspinwall
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Jocelyn Campbell wrote:

Matthew Aspinwall wrote:Found this growing on my property in October. Monotropa uniflora (ghost plant or Indian pipe). It has no chlorophyll, instead getting it's energy from mycorrhizal fungi. The flower tips were slightly pink and you could smell them from yards away.



A good, floral smell?

Gorgeous photo!



Yup! Very pleasant. I would have put them in a vase, but I wanted them to go to seed.
 
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Bee in the blueberry patch.
21830C72-84A8-4DEB-9982-82DD58345D54.jpeg
spring garden
spring garden
 
Tyler Ludens
master pollinator
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An owl flew silently over us on our walk this morning - very close!

 
garden master
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Artie Scott wrote:Awesome pictures!  Here is one thats kinda cool - I love how the bright red flower is framed in these gnarly sycamore roots.  Anyone know the name?  Wish I did!



Hi Artie, that's a cardinal flower....beautiful picture!  They grow wild up here.  I've moved them into my forest garden and they're spreading! :)
 
Tyler Ludens
master pollinator
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I was finally able to take a photo of this albino Black Vulture.

Black Vultures are one of my favorite birds, so I especially like a white one!


edited to mention that the Cornell Bird Lab said they think it is probably not an albino, but instead  leucistic.  We would have to be able to see the color of her eyes to know for sure.

https://www.audubon.org/news/how-tell-if-bird-albino
blanca.jpg
albino Black Vulture
albino Black Vulture
 
pollinator
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Ok this was last year, but while wandering around my property I found some of these amazing flowers growing in some of the least hospitable locations and was totally impressed. Not only beautiful but hardy and resilient.



 
Devin Lavign
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Ok like the flower, this is last year. I posted this on my homestead thread along with a lot of other wildlife pics that had accumulated that I had meant to post before now. But figured this one is special enough to post here as well as there.



2 days before I had a fun encounter with this little bear on my property, then the day after this video saw it again on my property.If interested in the full story or the other wildlife I remembered to take a pic of, check out my most recent post on the thread for my homestead https://permies.com/t/56342/Moving-Okanogan-homestead-land-pics#882395
 
Tyler Ludens
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A bear!  Wow!
 
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No pictures, sadly, but a few nights ago I saw slugs mating in midair. A long trail of slime was keeping them attatched a gutter overhead, and they had sort of oozed down to eye level. It was incredibly gross and incredibly interesting, the sort of thing that makes me want to go outside at midnight more often.
 
Devin Lavign
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Tyler Ludens wrote:A bear!  Wow!



Yep, and I do suspect it has a den on my property. All the evidence is there, and I have seen it multiple times at my place, but it hasn't invited me over for tea and I don't like to visit uninvited. So I give the den area a wide berth so not to disturb my friend.
 
garden master
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I love tree frogs!

This gray treefrog was on my shed the other day. I hope he's getting hungry for some flies and bugs this summer!
20190315_201759.jpg
tree frog
tree frog
 
master steward
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I have seen at least three of these giant moths this year:

 Antheraea polyphemus, the Polyphemus moth, is a North American member of the family Saturniidae, the giant silk moths.

It is a tan-colored moth, with an average wingspan of 15 cm (6 in). The most notable feature of the moth is its large, purplish eyespots on its two hindwings.






Source
 
Tyler Ludens
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oooooo!
 
steward
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This snail has been hanging out on this azalea for about a week. Really lovely.

snail-azalea-6.jpg
snail hanging out on an azalea
snail hanging out on an azalea
 
pollinator
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Crabapple and huckleberry in oldgrowth cedar stump, on a back corner of my property. Picture doesn't really capture the light..

I've got a lot of these. Always mixed feelings.. lovely to look at, renewal on the bones of the past..

Otoh there is not one single oldgrowth tree remaining on my land, or the thousand odd acres around my property that I'm slightly familiar with, and 98% of the secondgrowth of any substantial size is also gone.
20190508_161403(0).jpg
Crabapple and huckleberry
Crabapple and huckleberry
 
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We spent a week watching this stoat murder ground squirrels out our bathroom window. It was feet from us and it saw us and was not scared at all. Still the most amazing creature to watch in action. So graceful and deadly.
Stoat.jpg
stoat
stoat
 
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This tree that leaves out via really big flower instead of just small buds.
59846215_851438728549654_8769480485718982656_n.jpg
tree flower
tree flower
 
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I’ve been rather obsessed with fungi for the past decade or so, and have always loved capturing close-ups of the infinite diversity. I’ve only recently felt confident enough to start foraging fungi, but my favourite part about hunting them is getting up close and admiring...

My ID of most of these is weak, but I’m getting pretty familiar with my favourite edibles!
4E0E3EFB-CF12-40BD-A0C9-30C796739811.jpeg
witch’s butter
witch’s butter
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amanita muscaria
amanita muscaria
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coral mushroom
coral mushroom
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stack of chicken of the woods
stack of chicken of the woods
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bleeding something or other fungi
bleeding something or other fungi
 
A feeble attempt to tell you about our stuff that makes us money
Switching from electric heat to a rocket mass heater reduces your carbon footprint as much as parking 7 cars
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