Grass climber

A long walk.  Six hours plus change.  And enough mosquitoes to make the experience frustrating, not to mention a wee bit itchy.

Oh, and throughout my jaunt I accidentally inhaled such a large quantity of midges that I could create my own personal swarm should I choose to cough them up later.

One thing the Old Fish Hatchery Nature Area at White Rock Lake offers is a plethora of wildlife, including the aforementioned mosquitoes and midges.

After concluding I’d had enough of my tender bits being nibbled on by bloodsucking flies, I decided to leave.  So back up the trail toward the paddle boat house I went.

On the way, something caught my eye, something in the trees at about chest height.  A hawk!  I couldn’t resist the opportunity to visit with my medicine animal, so I crouched in the grass and watched.  No need to take photos.  This moment was jut for us, the hawk and me.

Then something dark lurking in the blowing grass forced me to look away (at which time the hawk vanished without a sound—as one would expect).  There trying to climb through the little giant of a jungle that rested at my feet was this:

A rove beetle (Platydracus maculosus) climbing in grass (2009_04_16_015639)

A rove beetle.  But not just any rove beetle.  A respectably large rove beetle, at least 1.25 in/30 mm in length.  Specifically, it was Platydracus maculosus, a common sight around these parts.

A rove beetle (Platydracus maculosus) climbing in grass (2009_04_16_015640)

Like an idiot unprepared for the environmental conditions, I was forced to back away so the 400mm lens I was using could focus on this bitty behemoth, yet the near biblical winds kept the grass, the beetle and the lens moving at what can only be described as hurricane speeds.  Relatively speaking of course.

A rove beetle (Platydracus maculosus) climbing in grass (2009_04_16_015641)

Mind you, the beetle didn’t help either.  Were I to describe its in-the-wind grass-climbing skills, I would have to say it was pathetic.  Funny to watch, sure, but there would be no records set with this ascent, no applause when it ended, no horde of fans talking about the breathtaking excitement.

A rove beetle (Platydracus maculosus) climbing in grass (2009_04_16_015642)

By the time I reset the camera settings to compensate for both the weather and the critter’s lack of staying power, it had fallen from the Lilliputian treetops and vanished into the understory below.

And that’s about when I got smacked in the face by a tree branch blowing in the unrelenting winds.  OK, time to go.

11 thoughts on “Grass climber”

    1. I appreciate that, Anna. And it was funny in hindsight. At the time–especially after the tree punched me–I didn’t think it was entertaining at all!

  1. It’s astonishing, a whole other world in the grass (and under the ground, and in the treetops, and under the water, and etc., etc., etc.). Thank you for these slices of life we so seldom see or pay attention to!

    1. You’re too kind, Jain. Thank you! And you’re right. It’s amazing what a fantastical world exists where we often don’t look. So I look. Or I try to anyway. Because there’s such magic to be found where it’s least expected.

  2. Fascinating beetle – I don’t know that I would have recognized it as a beetle in the field. I have a brand-new stack of field guides, where I hope I would discover this beetle’s name…but that’s a tossup.

    I hope the tree-limb didn’t smack you too hard. I agree – time to go on that one.

    1. A lot of rove beetles look similar to earwigs, Amber, so I’m sure that’s what they’re mistaken for most of the time. But some of them also tend to lift the end of their abdomen in what looks like the defensive posture of scorpions. When they do that, the idea of it being an earwig probably goes right out the door.

      Nope, the tree limb only hit me hard enough to leave a little scratch. But I got the message.

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