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. 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.
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.
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.
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.