After the fire

In 2013, the Rim Fire burned over 250,000 acres of forest in the Sierra Nevada mountains. The fire spread into Yosemite National Park, and burned right up to Tuolomne Grove, one of the park’s three ancient groves of Giant Sequoias. Thanks to some backburning efforts to clear out the brush, and mild winds on those days, all of the big trees were spared. Many of their younger neighbors, however, were not so fortunate. On my visit this spring, I was struck by the contrast of budding flowers and new growth against this charred landscape.


Amazing Bugs

Butterflies, spiders, ants, wasps, and many other beautiful invertebrates from tropical and temperate climes.














and you thought awesome bugs were only in the rainforest

Okay, so maybe I’m the one who thought that Washington bugs would be pretty uninteresting compared to the beauties I was enjoying in Costa Rica and Panama. (By the way, “bugs” is a totally scientific term for anything that’s eight-legged, six-legged, or no-legged and can be described as creepy, crawly, hard, soft, and otherwise spurned by the squeamish of society. Scientific. Really.) I was sure the only bugs worth knowing in Washington were the mosquitos, spiders, and anything else that was more identifiable by the bite that it left than it’s actual appearance.

Sometimes, it’s pretty awesome to be proven wrong.

Yesterday, I was staring at plants (which is basically what I do all day, in a systematic and science-y way) and happened to notice this beauty.

sitting picturesquely on a driftwood log, of course
such a cute face
such a cute face
I love the rainbow effect, and the texture with the stripes
I love the rainbow effect and the overall texture of the outer wings with the stripes

And just as I was debating whether to go get my camera, this diva flew right past me and landed two feet away!

it’s like the Cruela deVille of beetles
there's something very classy about that little white spot below the larger black circle
there’s something very classy about that little white spot below the larger black circle
Check out the length of those antennae
Check out the length of those antennae

So I grabbed my camera and snapped away until they both wandered and flew off, respectively. Clearly I am going to have to start paying more attention to my local bugs.

Edit: The beetles are aptly named the Green Metallic Beetle (Buprestis aurulenta) and the Banded Alder Borer (Rosalia funebris).