What is your Favorite Lifer from this week?

I’ve shot quite a few of these and (in my experience, at least) when you consider their vision, awareness and intelligence, the odds of them doing something like this would be pretty remote. Just move slowly. They are usually terrific macro subjects!


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Meant to post in Unexpectedly cute observations - what are yours?, sorry!

This mudsnake was a lifer for me this week (yesterday in fact). It was a truly gorgeous snake and I wish I had been able to get a get a better photo. We had to move it because it was in a bad spot in our driveway. It was huge so my husband had a bit of a struggle to hold it, but the snake was very gentle and had excellent manners as it didn’t even pee on him which snakes often do, he he he.


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Magnificent photo! Well done, indeed! :)

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I’ve not had jumping spiders jump at the camera.
I use a handheld iPhone, sometimes with a clip on macro lens.
Katydids WILL jump on the phone! They usually look right at it and sway left and right… and then… right on the phone! Thank goodness they don’t bite or sting!

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Found a Ghostpipe!! :D


Not a real lifer but the second time I get to see one: the gorgeous Baltimore oriole. This is such an exciting find for me, the first and last time I saw one was many years ago (at least the males since females are harder to find and identify) and it’s a migratory species that winters here. They are brighter than fire!

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Stoked to have seen this Tooth-Billed Bowerbird this week!


Pretty happy with this leafhopper (Sibovia occatoria) find:

Not a lifer by any means (but I dont really know where else to put it) but sort of like a “lifer activity”: I finally smelt the odour that is emitted from a Papilio glaucus swallowtail osmeterium. It was surprisingly pungent and cheesy smelling, with a mix of a sweet, floral scent. I wonder if anyone else had the same experience?


Yesterday I saw 5 (five!) Mutillidae - all different species! And I encountered my first male! :-) t was running on the ground like they always do, then suddenly made some funny little leaps - oh, no, no leaps - it was flying - so must be a male. Chasing it was even more difficult than females. Finally it hid under a stone, which I carefully removed and I had the chance at some fotos.

Probably it will remain at Stenomutilla sp., but even the genus is a lifer for me.


This gorgeous red salamander, and my lifer to boot, was definitely my highlight of the week, and while not really a LIFER lifer I finally managed to get a picture of Tramea lacerata as well, probably will be my last in-state new Odonate of the year with fall settling in really quickly


Well now it is Friday Sept 23d and yesterday I searched for more seaweed species at Cardiff State Beach where the San Elijo lagoon flows into the ocean.

I found a new-to-me species which has only 27 iNat observations so far.
Oarweed, Laminaria farlowii. However, this is not the same oar weed species as the one in Europe.

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Actually this week brought me another lifer, a shell. I already found it on the 4th September, but had to take photos and upload it and get it identified. Turns out Basisulcata lepida is not only new to me, but also new to iNat! :-) And a great thanks to @anasacuta for the ID.


Found this super cool larva of my lifer Banded Sphinx (Eumorpha fasciatus) during a daily stroll at a local park

The coloration reminds me of the holidays :christmas_tree:


Eastern black-tailed rattlesnake is my lifer of the week and actually the first rattler I’ve seen in Albuquerque


The Mama and the Pawpaws…
(This one’s a lifer, but since it was a cultivated source, a personal one only.)

So last week, I remembered that a local aboretum had a mature pawpaw tree and that from discussion here on the forum, that this was the time that they were ripening. Now, the pawpaw is a rare, but indigenous plant to my region (Niagara region, Ontario, Canada) and I’ve read that pre-colonization, it was much more common and a food source enjoyed by the indigenous peoples here.

I’ve made many trips to the US over the years, but never during pawpaw harvest time so I’ve been curious about the ‘custard apple’ for a long, long time.

So last week, after visiting my mom in a neighbouring city, I made a slight detour on the way home to the aboretum, which is only about 10 minutes from my home.

And there was the tree and there… were the fruits! I counted maybe 12 or so fruits. The tree is not that old, maybe 15 years?

Since this was a public aboretum, and easy to access (the pawpaw was practically roadside), I knew the rules from talking to the aboretum staff I’ve seen. No picking, except for windfall. Fair enough. And then I noticed it! A single pod, on the ground. It looked like something had taken a chomp out of one end, but otherwise very intact. So out with the pocket knife and… there it was! Pawpaw flesh. Not as creamy as I had imagined, but it looked nice and soft and tasted – pretty good! Then as I tried another piece I came down to those massive seeds and noticed that the texture close to the seeds was less firm, and more creamy. Much like a perfectly ripe avocado. So my guess was that I was a little early to taste this rare treat (for us). Maybe another week?

I visit Mom twice a week so it was an easy thing to check again. Which I did, just a few days ago only to discover… all the pawpaws had vanished! Not a trace in the tree of anything. No peels or debris on the ground. My guess is that someONE (not something) had beat me to it. Perhaps the aboretum staff? I doubt it. In any case, disappointed, I made one more sweep of the area and just when I was about to head back to the car, there it was! One single, tiny pawpaw. About 50 feet away from the tree. I wasn’t even sure if such a small fruit would be viable to eat, but I picked it up anyhow and headed home.

It looked a little firm yet to me, so I left it on my windowsill for couple of days, and then decided to give it a go. And that’s when I took this pic. And the pawpaw? Delicious! Custardy? Yes. Sweet. Mmmhmm. I mean, I might have gotten 2 or 3 tablespoons in total, but it definitely was a great experience.

When I checked iNat for observed trees in my region I was surprised that there were only 3 or 4. Two in downtown locations. And a couple-- obscured. Hmm.

A local nuttery has a few in their collection. And there’s talk of making more of an effort to grow more. It’s so weird to eat something that looks and tastes like it came from the tropics here. I saved the three seeds I had and I plan to see what happens if I find a good spot in the ol’ backyard here. But that’s my pawpaw lifer. I can see what all the excitement is about. And who knows? Maybe it won’t be my last time either.

And now for something completely different.

I was on the trail a couple days back and came across one of those strange little blobs on a protected break in a tree trunk that looks a bit like fibrous, pale insulation, with little bubbles embedded in it. I had seen these before and I think that they’re the egg ‘nest’ of a small introduced wasp. So this wasn’t new, but then, while shooting I saw something about the same diameter of the egg (1.5mm?) just sitting there. So I zoomed in as much as I could (no room for a flash) and shot away.

After a lot of terrible attempts, the best I could get was this:

And this:

And the closest I could find in my limited identification efforts was something called a Thread-Legged Bug. Never heard of them? Me neither. Then I somehow ended up checking out Assasin bugs, and there the were. A subfamily, Emesinae. But they’re on their own and pretty rare. The colouring (back, in particular) of the one I shot didn’t seem to match to any of the reference photos I could find but I think it may have been a nymph. In any case, it was a very interesting find and it just made me think about all those posts about missing something new when you’re shooting something else.

The legs really are just like little tiny threads! (Unlike this post. Sorry for the length. I’m tired and I didn’t have time to make it shorter.)


Skullcap Skeletonizer Moth

Or one of the 3 or 4 first Springtails I’ve ever seen.


In Ohio pawpaw trees are very common, so when me and my wife saw one hanging over the trail in a metro park a few years ago we took it (technically same rules are your arboretum, but there’s 1000ds of them everywhere, so we didn’t feel too bad about a single fruit). And we both thought it’s the best type of fruit we ever had, like a really sweet banana… however… since it tasted so good, we decided to go to a nearby pawpaw festival. We drove there and bought a box of pawpaw fruit, then sat down right away to eat them and finally get more of that delicious taste - but they were absolutely disgusting and we had to spit them out. Since then both of us have this horrible rotten taste in our mouth when we hear “pawpaw” and neither of us is likely to ever try one again…