Critters at the Park and a Figeater at the House

I slept really well last night and got up around 6:00 am.  I headed out to the American River Bend Park.  I’m still feeling a little bit of the vertigo, but only if I move too quickly – and I felt I needed to get outside and moving. It was in the 60’s when I got there and was up to about 71° by the time I left.  In the summer it’s sometimes slim pickings as far as photo material goes, but today I did get to see hawks, woodpeckers,  small flock of Common Mergansers (all females), a young coyote, a large dragonfly, lots of fresh raccoon scat, blackberries (that seemed to be everywhere), some California Wild Roses in bloom, Bushtits…  So I got some good shots.

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I walked through the park for about 3 hours and then went home to have some breakfast of my own.

For lunch, I grilled some cheap steaks outside, and while I was doing that this huge iridescent green beetle with black wings came flying around me.  It made such a loud buzzing sound I thought at first it was a Carpenter Bee, but nope… it was a beetle.  It crashed into the side of the house a couple of times before landing on the patio.  It was shiny green – like metal – on the underside, and dull green on top with a tan rim along the margins, tan hairs under its “chin” and black wings.  I got a hold of it and carried it into the house so I could get my camera.  Then I took it back outside, took several photos of it (none of which did its color justice) and let it go.  It flew up into the mulberry tree and disappeared into the leaves.  I learned later it was a Figeater Beetle (Cotinis mutabilis); really big, but very harmless.

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My Tuleyome Tales article on photographing nature was published online today by the Davis Enterprise newspaper: