Archive for April, 2013

Stream Cruiser dragonfly (male)

April 30, 2013

The following photo gallery features a Stream Cruiser dragonfly (Didymops transversa) spotted along “Beaver Pond Loop Trail” at Accotink Bay Wildlife Refuge, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a male as indicated by the white terminal appendages at the end of its abdomen. The abdomen of male Stream Cruisers is enlarged near the tip, similar to the Clubtail family of dragonflies.

Thanks to Mr. Chris Hobson, Natural Areas Zoologist with the Virginia Natural Heritage Program, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, for verifying my tentative identification and for providing species descriptors paraphrased in this post.

Copyright © 2013 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

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Stream Cruiser dragonfly (female)

April 27, 2013

The following photo gallery features a Stream Cruiser dragonfly (Didymops transversa) spotted along the upper segment of “Loop Trail” at Accotink Bay Wildlife Refuge, Fairfax County, Virginia USA.

Male– and female Stream Cruisers are very similar in appearance: a white facial bar and a single white stripe on the side of the thorax are key characteristics of Didymops transversa. This individual is a female as indicated by the pair of white terminal appendages (cerci) at the end of its abdomen. Notice the differences between female- and male terminal appendages, as shown in the following slideshow. See a full-size version of the composite image shown in Slide 2: female appendages are shown in the background photo; male appendages are shown in the inset photo.

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Thanks to Mr. Chris Hobson, Natural Areas Zoologist with the Virginia Natural Heritage Program, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, for providing species descriptors paraphrased in this post.

Related Resources: Odonate Terminal Appendages.

Copyright © 2013 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Eastern American Toads: mating season

April 14, 2013

The following YouTube video features several examples of the mating call of a male Eastern American Toad (Anaxyrus americanus) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. The video clips were recorded on a very windy day. Apple iMovie was used to edit the video: image stabilization was applied to all of the raw video clips; the audio waveforms were adjusted to decrease the wind noise and amplify the mating calls.

A mating pair of Eastern American Toads was spotted a few feet away from the male toad shown in the preceding video.

American Toads (mating pair) American Toads (mating pair)

Copyright © 2013 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Carolina Wren

April 6, 2013

The unofficial motto of the Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus) is, Sing it loud, sing it proud!

This shy bird can be hard to see, but it delivers an amazing number of decibels for its size. Source Credit: “All About Birds,” Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus)

I shot the preceding photograph of a Carolina Wren during a photowalk through the Hollin Meadows Swim & Tennis Club on 11 May 2012. A little less than a year later, I recorded the following audio clip of a Carolina Wren calling in the woods at Huntley Meadows Park on 04 April 2013. If you listen carefully, then you can hear two bird calls: a Carolina Wren is the louder call; a Carolina Chickadee is the quieter call.

Tech Tips: I used the free “Voice Memos” app on my Apple iPhone to record the bird call. I used “Audacity,” a free audio processor, to edit the file: I cut some noise at the beginning of the clip; and amplified the entire selection. Finally, I uploaded the audio clip to “audioBoom,” a free Website for audioblogging. Try it, it’s easy!

The following slideshow features a few more photos of the same bird.

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Copyright © 2013 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.


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