Tag Archives: digger wasp (Sphex habenus)

The wasp with bling

I admit I’ve been trying to survive H1N1 influenza.  That’s “swine flu” for anyone not up to date on the latest vernacular.  Let me assure you that getting this is as unpleasant as any flu you’ve ever had.  In fact, I’d say it’s worse if my experience is any indication.

So anyway…  Given how absolutely beat up I’ve felt for more than two weeks, having the wherewithal to be up and about this past weekend gave me renewed hope that I might actually survive the plague.

And what did I do with my newfound ability to function outside the comfort of my own bed?  I took a very brief walk Saturday morning at White Rock Lake.  When that didn’t kill me, I took another walk Sunday morning.  Both wiped me out and left me unable to do more than moan and groan, something The Kids objected to vehemently until I stopped being such a pansy and went to sleep.  But anyway…

In both cases I left the house with very specific intentions: Saturday to chase the dadgummed kingfisher and Sunday to get good photos of the scissor-tailed flycatchers before they migrate south for winter (more of those photos in a forthcoming post).

While on my way Sunday morning to Winfrey Point to locate a trio of scissor-tailed flycatchers (parents with offspring) who I knew to be locatable and approachable, a shiny bauble in the grass caught my eye.  You know how like a ferret I am when a sparkly trinket appears…

I was too weak to carry more lenses than the super-telephoto (100-400mm), and I didn’t think it mattered since I was going to photograph one specific thing.  So there I stood facing a visually delectable tidbit in the grass with nothing but a massive long-distance lens to work with.  It’s like having the winning lottery ticket and using it to start a fire because you’re freezing to death in the wilderness.

Still, I tried for some photos because the critter was not only large (about 30 mm/1.25 inches long), but it also had a way cool style with built-in bling.

A male digger wasp (a.k.a. golden-reined wasp; Sphex habenus) perched in the grass (2009_09_27_029601)

The minimum focusing distance of my lens required me to stand at least two meters/yards away from the insect.  That meant I couldn’t even move obstacles out of the way.  The only hope of a clear view relied entirely on the wasp staying in the open.

A male digger wasp (a.k.a. golden-reined wasp; Sphex habenus) perched in the grass (2009_09_27_029616)

But stay in the open it did, at least for a brief time, and by doing so it afforded me the opportunity to appreciate its golden highlights, a reflective decoration that looked like the best bling money could buy.

A male digger wasp (a.k.a. golden-reined wasp; Sphex habenus) perched in the grass (2009_09_27_02962)

A gold mask, gold necklace, gold tank top worn like precious reins on a valiant steed…  This bejeweled devil kept my attention as long as it wanted.

A male digger wasp (a.k.a. golden-reined wasp; Sphex habenus) perched in the grass (2009_09_27_029641)

Known as a digger wasp (a.k.a. golden-reined wasp; Sphex habenus), this male no doubt bathed and preened and groomed in hopes of finding a lady friend who might take a liking to him.

Though he wandered into the grass and out of sight, I hoped as I walked away that he would be successful in his quest to find a mate before the change of seasons took the chance away forever.