Saturday, August 9, 2014

Eastern Hercules Beetle and Other Garden Life - August 2014

August finds the temperatures creeping up to the 100's now.  There's still plenty of life being lived around here though.  My daughter found this beautiful (and deceased) female eastern Hercules beetle in Tyler (East Texas piney woods) this week.  Tyler is about 85 miles east of my location, but the terrain is very different.  It is rolling hills with sandy soil.  There are lots of pines and hardwood trees there.  Tyler's environment is more characteristic of the eastern U.S.  The range of this beetle ends in east Texas. 

When I was researching this beetle, I looked at pictures of its grubs (larvae) - they are HUGE compared to the typical June bug beetle. 

She had tiny hairs all the way around her body.

Here is a link to a video of a large and active male Eastern Hercules beetle.

A female ruby throated hummingbird is visiting the flame acanthus.

A gulf fritillary butterfly

Another garden spider.  I am seeing more of them this year than last year.  See the trademark zigzag pattern on the web?

I had never noticed the cool pattern on its stomach.

This is a very small butterfly (1 1/4" across) that is pretty beat up - I don't remember seeing it around here before.  It is a Pearl Crescent butterfly.

Unidentified dragonfly - I'll update the post when I find it.

This is a Widow dragonfly.  I actually posted this picture last month - however, I wanted to compare it to the picture of the dragonfly I took this week (above).  Not only is the pattern on the wings different, the body color is different.

The Echinacea (purple coneflower) is in bloom now.  The butterflies like this flower.  Here is a link to an interesting video about the use of Echinacea - they use the entire plant.

The sunflowers growing in my garden are starting to droop in this photo - it won't be long before I harvest them.

It has very large leaves - notice the leaf size compared to my hand - it totally covers it.

Very large heads - I'll be harvesting the seeds soon.

We had some lovely clouds near sunset this week.  This one looked like a kind of starship - I love the way the sun-rays shine through the right side!

Same set of clouds at a different angle - see the silver lining?

This is also the same set of clouds later - there were beautiful sun-rays.  I took the picture with my cell phone through a car windshield.  I wish I could have stopped and gotten out.