Photo of the Week – Gus & Ollie

<p><i>Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus</i>, Psittacidae<br />
Vancouver Aquarium, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada<br />
Nikon D5100, 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6<br />
May 15, 2016</p>

Hyacinth Macaw

Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus, Psittacidae
Vancouver Aquarium, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Nikon D5100, 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6
May 15, 2016

Sara and I visited the aquarium a few weeks back along with her parents. As a change of pace I decided to bring my telephoto rather than my fast prime. While I wasn’t able to get any really good shots inside because of the low light, I was able to get some satisfying close ups (like the one above) on the marine mammals outside and the birds in the Amazon Gallery. I have a full set of photos from the aquarium over at flickr.

Photo of the Week – Eyeball Love

<p><i>Rhionaeschna multicolor</i>, Aeshnidae<br />
Maplewood Conservation Area, North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada<br />
Nikon D5100, 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6<br />
May 7, 2016</p>

Blue-eyed Darner

Rhionaeschna multicolor, Aeshnidae
Maplewood Conservation Area, North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Nikon D5100, 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6
May 7, 2016

This week we have yet another pair of mating dragonflies. The male is above grasping the female just behind her eyes with his claspers. The female is below curling her abdomen up to the base of the male’s thorax where his secondary genitalia are located.

Photo of the Week – Stalker on the Sand

<p><i>Cicindela oregona oregona</i>, Carabidae<br />
Iona Beach Regional Park, Richmond, British Columbia, Canada<br />
Nikon D5100, 105 mm f/2.8<br />
May 1, 2016</p>

Western Tiger Beetle

Cicindela oregona oregona, Carabidae
Iona Beach Regional Park, Richmond, British Columbia, Canada
Nikon D5100, 105 mm f/2.8
May 1, 2016

Here we have a shot of our locally common Tiger Beetle. Tiger beetles are an awesome subfamily of Carabids adapted to run down prey across stretches of unvegetated ground. They are actually able to run so fast relative to their body size that they have to use a stop and go running style to allow them to accurately track their prey. The post title is a reference to the great book Tiger Beetles of Alberta by John Acorn.

New Design for My Photo Galleries


After a bunch fiddling with plugin settings and CSS, I’m ready to unveil my new justified design for my photo galleries. Before you give me too much credit, the actual layout is all generated by the Flickr Justified Gallery plugin. I’m really happy with these new galleries look and how they make efficient use of the available space. [click to continue…]

<p><i>Anax junius</i>, Aeshnidae<br />
Minnekhada Regional Park, Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada<br />
Nikon D5100, 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6<br />
May 31, 2015</p>

Immature Common Green Darner

Anax junius, Aeshnidae
Minnekhada Regional Park, Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada
Nikon D5100, 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6
May 31, 2015

Unlike most of the dragonfly fauna of BC which stay put all year round, Green Darners are migratory. Like Monarchs, adults migrate north in the spring and it is their offspring, who emerge in late summer, that migrate back south. You can help conserve migratory dragonflies by report sightings to the Migratory Dragonfly Partnership.

Photo of the Week – Not So Spotted Jelly

<p><i>Mastigias papua</i>, Mastigiidae<br />
Vancouver Aquarium, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada<br />
Nikon D5100, 35 mm f/1.8<br />
May 30, 2015</p>

Spotted Jelly

Mastigias papua, Mastigiidae
Vancouver Aquarium, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Nikon D5100, 35 mm f/1.8
May 30, 2015

This week’s photo features some not so spotty Jellies from the Vancouver aquarium. I really like the creamy bokeh in this shot.

Photo of the Week – Floral Naughty Bits

<p><i>Tragopogon dubius</i>, Asteraceae<br />
Iona Beach Regional Park, Richmond, British Columbia, Canada<br />
Nikon D5100, 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6<br />
May 23, 2015</p>

Western Goat's Beard

Tragopogon dubius, Asteraceae
Iona Beach Regional Park, Richmond, British Columbia, Canada
Nikon D5100, 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6
May 23, 2015

Like Dandelion with which is sometimes confused, Western Goat’s Beard is another member of the daisy family (Asteraceae). It can be easily distinguished from Dandelion by it’s longer involucre bracts (leafy bits just below the flowers) which extend beyond the flowers. Both species lack the central disk flowers of their more daisy like relatives and their flowering heads consist only of ray flowers. I really like this shot because you can clearly see the bilobed stigma (♀ bits) and fused anther cylinders (♂ bits) that are characteristic of the Asteraceae.

<p>Cameron Park, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada<br />
Nikon D5100, 35 mm f/1.8<br />
April 13, 2016</p>

New Dress

Cameron Park, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada
Nikon D5100, 35 mm f/1.8
April 13, 2016

Sara just finished her latest sewing project and enlisted my help in showing off her new dress. For those in the know: Butterick 4790.

Figure 1
Fig. 1. A dead water boatman (Cenocorixa sp., Corixidae) photographed on a vehicle roof. This surface reflects highly polarized light. 9 March 2014. Iona Beach Regional Park, Richmond, British Columbia (49°13’6″ N, 123°12’49” W).

You might be wondering where Figure 1 was taken and what it has to do with polarized light. The picture shows an unfortunate water boatman that landed on the roof of my car and quickly succumbed to the high temperatures of the sun baked metal. Why would this aquatic insect be landing on a car in the first place? The answer has to do with polarized light. [click to continue…]

2015 Bird Watching Recap

Life List Graph
Figure 1 Annual North American totals for bird species, lifers (species not previously observed), and checklists (observations from a specific location and time).

Like my first recap I had intended to post this sometime in January. This year I wanted to streamline my process from the kludgey mess I had been using. I’ve been successful in moving most of the data processing into R, but it did take a while. I’m now able to parse the csv from eBird containing my observations and extract the relevant information. I can then create year, and locations lists using dplyr. This information can then be used to generate graphs, html tables using xtable, or kml files using plotKML. The process is not live updating but for that to work this code would probably need to be ported into MySQL and I would probably need API access from eBird to my own observations. I’m also having an issue with each point in my exported KML file having their own individual style, which then requires some editing in Google Earth. I then still need to manually add it to My Maps before I can embed it on a webpage. I’d welcome any suggestions here for streamlining. If anyone is interested you can find a copy of my R code here. [click to continue…]