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Metacomet’s Cave   Leave a comment

I’m calling it Metacomet’s Cave because I think that’s a better name than King Philip’s Cave.

First bug walk of the season! Trying a new technique: no flash, high ISO, larger aperture, some focus stacking if necessary. I don’t know if it’s any better. Perhaps with a ring light?

I found a little stone (3-4 cm) that was swarming with Collembola, like little sheep.

Look, I caught one of them in the process of jumping!

Lasius ant, I believe, commonly called Citronella ants:

Fly in Heliomyzidae. This photo is the result of focus stacking. Mixed success:

I always see Leucauge venusta spiders as some of the earliest spiders in the spring. Also Cyclosa conica, but didn’t see any of those on this trip.

And another:

Posted 2022-03-20 by gaurav1729 in Uncategorized

Blue Hills Lichen Walk   Leave a comment

With plenty of people who actually knew what they were doing!

pupa of Callosamia promethea, Promethea Silkworm moth (Sphingidae):

Posted 2022-02-28 by gaurav1729 in Uncategorized

Pond water, part two   Leave a comment

Next set of observations from the same sample of pond water from my backyard (also includes some moss from the tree in the front yard). IMPORTANT: this time, I did not ingest any pond water at all. Yay for small victories!

I’ve enjoyed this enough I really want to consider getting a “real” microscope.

I don’t really have terribly good identifications for all of this.

I think this is an ostracod. It was about 2/3 mm long.

I’m not sure what this is. Maybe another ostracod? It was about 1.5mm long.

I have no idea what’s going on here. On the lower right, I think is an ostracod. The rest of the object seems to be the carcass of an insect, perhaps? About 2mm long.

A better photo of a copepod with eggs:

The individual cells in this plant?

Posted 2022-02-26 by gaurav1729 in Uncategorized

Pond water   Leave a comment

Took some moss from the tree in front of the house; mixed it with water from the pond behind the house. First cut at using the digital microscope, this is a copepod female with eggs, I believe. Next time, I’ll try to look for other creatures.

First lesson learned: NEVER EVER TRY TO USE A STRAW AS A PIPETTE, GAURAV, YOU IDIOT. Especially when dealing with pond water.

It seems that Youtube degraded the video quality quite a bit, unfortunately; the original video looks much sharper.

Posted 2022-02-21 by gaurav1729 in Uncategorized

Massapoag Trail   Leave a comment

Another snowfall, another walk. Late in the evening, not a great light for photos. Let’s see if anything usable came out of it!

Posted 2022-02-13 by gaurav1729 in Uncategorized

Massapoag Trail   Leave a comment

A big snowstorm, and temperatures around -10C (15 F or so). A perfect time for a walk.

Posted 2022-01-30 by gaurav1729 in Uncategorized

Moose Hill Marsh and Vernal Pool Trail   Leave a comment

Took out the Laowa 24mm probe lens to look underwater. It’s been rainy for many days now, so the marshy area was filled with water (it’s often dried out).

I mostly looked in a little bit of the marsh that was cordoned off from the rest. That area turned out to have by far the most ostracods and copepods. Taking photos of them was pretty difficult, but out of several hundred photos, I got a few decent shots.

It was surprising there was so much activity at this time of year (New Year’s Day!). Even the caddisfly larvae were everywhere. And it was even more surprising that so many of them were with eggs; what would they have done if it were freezing at this time, or if there were no rain?

All identities are my best guess, I’m still learning as I go!

Copepod female, I think:

And another:

And another! You begin to get the idea. Fecundity rampant.

A better view of the male in the previous photo. I couldn’t tell if they were actually interacting, but they stayed together for a several seconds.

Copepod male, I think:

In focus, while swimming. Believe me, this was not an easy photo to take:

This is another copepod. Those sphere that look like eggs are actually fatty globules stored inside the body. The orange color comes from carotenoids.

I think this is another copecod, but again, I’m still trying to pick this up:

A caddisfly larvae in its casing. You can see the legs, but the main body is out of focus:

This photo was taken in the pool on the vernal pool trail. I have no idea what I’m looking at. It was a mass attached to a leaf, on the surface.

Now for some photos that do not involve exoskeletons:

Rain droplets are sometimes better when out of focus. The shiny bright light gets lost in the photo if the droplet is in focus (because the dynamic range of the camera is less than that of the eye), but can be seen better by spreading it out.

In this case, they didn’t need that help:

I took a series of photos of this wonderful set of droplets on a leaf in the marsh. No way I could have reached them without using the Laowa lens. The light was striking it just right.

Is this a slime mold? EDIT: no, looks like one, but more likely to be the fungus Ceriporia spissa.

Posted 2022-01-01 by gaurav1729 in Uncategorized

Stony Brook, Norfolk   Leave a comment

Winter Hooded Mergansers

Lake Massapoag:

Posted 2021-11-29 by gaurav1729 in Uncategorized

Devil’s Brook, Trowel Pond   Leave a comment

Devil’s Brook

After some heavy rains from a Nor’easter, the brook in spate.

A little experimental again. Time exposure, panned the camera.

Trowel Pond

Posted 2021-10-31 by gaurav1729 in Uncategorized

Devil’s Brook   2 comments

Waves. Rocks. Brightly colored leaves.

An experimental photo. I took a long exposure of the stream, and panned the camera along the length of the stream. Anything not changing comes out as a pure streak, while the bubbles and other features that changed over the length of the exposure stand out.

Posted 2021-10-16 by gaurav1729 in Uncategorized