Insects at the WPA Rock Garden, 09-05-17

On my way home from work, since I had to detour past it anyway, I stopped at the WPA Rock Garden by the zoo for a little while. The hot humid air was difficult for me to breathe, so I was only there for about an hour.  I was hoping that the Jumping Wasp Galls might have broken open and fallen to the ground there, but no. The gutters were filled with other leaves the big oak there had dropped already.  Those days when it was over 100º were just too much for it…

CLICK HERE to see the album of photos.

There wasn’t a lot to see at the garden but I did get photos of some of the summer-resistant flowers, and lots of bees, Skippers, and a few other butterflies including a Common Buckeye and Gray Hairstreak.  There were also a couple of large, very pregnant, praying mantises: one tan and one green.  Both of them were hanging around in spots where there was a lot of overlap in plants, and near to spots were the bees and Skippers were having lunch, so they could grab a meal for themselves if they wanted to.  Despite their size, they’re able to camouflage themselves well blending in with the dried or fresh leaves of the plant (depending on what color they are).  The tan one unfurled her wings at me when I got a hold of her; they’re always so neat looking when they do that…

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Mary K. Hanson is a breast cancer survivor who, at age 61, took coursework to become a Certified California Naturalist. The author of “The Chubby Woman’s Walkabout”™ blog, Ms. Hanson has also written nature-based feature articles published in regional newspapers, authored over ten books, including her "Cool Stuff Along the American" series of guide books, and has had her photographs featured in books, articles, calendars, on the American River Parkway Foundation’s Instagram stream, and even the White House blog. In 2018 Ms. Hanson will help to launch and teach a new Certified California Naturalist course through Tuleyome, in partnership with the University of California and the Woodland Library, so members of the public can themselves become certified as naturalists in the state. All of the photos seen on her website were taken by Ms. Hanson herself with moderate- to low-end photographic equipment more easily affordable to the everyday nature enthusiast. She also occasionally leads photo-walks through the American River Bend Park for the public and is sometimes available for public speaking.