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Shawn McClure
63,119 followers -
Photographer, Engineer, Mayhem Maker, Space Lord
Photographer, Engineer, Mayhem Maker, Space Lord

63,119 followers
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Symbiosis -- Fort Collins, Colorado
"For bees, the flower is the fountain of life;
For flowers, the bee is the messenger of love."
-- Kahlil Gibran

A young honeybee gathers nectar and pollen from a flower in the late afternoon sun in northern Colorado...
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The First And Last Time -- Fort Collins, Colorado
“Treat every natural beauty you meet as if you see it for the first and last time!”
-- Mehmet Murat ildan

The first crab apple blossom of spring, taken in my backyard...
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Jumping Spider ( Salticidae )
This tiny little fellow was playing hide-and-seek with my camera lens on a Sedum plant. I'd move my lens a little closer and he'd instantly disappear behind the leaf, but then just a few seconds later he'd tentatively reappear to see what was going on. I snapped this photo just after he'd made one of his reappearances. :)

Interestingly, jumping spiders don't have hugely "muscular" legs. Instead, they rely on segmented legs and blood flow to make their crazy jumps. When they're ready to jump, the spiders cause an extreme change in hemolymph pressure (the spider equivalent of blood pressure) by contracting the muscles in the upper region of their bodies. This forces the blood to their legs, and this causes the legs to extend rapidly. This quick and sudden extension of their legs is what propels them in the direction they're aiming. Who would've thought...
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A Better Way Of Seeing -- Fort Collins, Colorado
“To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place. I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.”
— Elliott Erwitt

A stalk of ornamental grass bends in the breeze on a warm summer evening in northern Colorado...
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European Earwig ( Forficula auricularia ) -- Fort Collins, CO
Earwigs get their name from the archaic belief that they crawl into sleeping people's ears, but that's a complete myth. Earwigs are completely harmless to humans and do not spread disease (another myth), but are nonetheless considered pests for misguided reasons. It probably doesn't help their case that they look like scary, prehistoric space aliens. :)

There are 22 types of Earwigs in the United States and there are over a 1,000 different species all over the world. The earwigs most often seen around my area are European earwigs, which were introduced into the U.S. in the 1900s.

Thanks to their formidable set of pincers or forceps, earwigs are omnivores and often capture hearty meals consisting of both plants and insects such as leaves, flowers, fruits, mold and other bugs. Earwigs hide during the day and live outdoors in large numbers. They can be found under piles of lawn clippings, compost or in tree holes.

Earwig females are fiercely protective mothers. An earwig can lay dozens of eggs at a time and the mother will devote her time to safeguarding her eggs. In fact, she’ll stay with them until they hatch — up until their first molt. After that, the nymphs are free to roam on their own.

Remember, these amazing little insects are not harmful to humans in any way and can actually be beneficial by virtue of all the mold, bacteria, and smaller bug "cleanup" that they do.

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P.S. I haven't posted in a while because I've been crazy busy at work and in life, but hopefully I'll be back to a more regular posting schedule fairly soon. Thanks a lot for all the kind comments on my past posts that I haven't had a chance to acknowledge or respond to yet. :)
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Rufous Hummingbird ( Selasphorus rufus ) -- Rawah Wilderness, northern Colorado
This perky little fellow was one of several Rufous males frequenting the feeders at our mountain cabin retreat in the Rawah Wilderness a few years ago. These tiny guys are fierce, and will aggressively defend their territory (which they seem to define as anywhere in their immediate vicinity) against other males, often having acrobatic jousts and dogfights overhead. But amazingly enough, I actually got several of them to land on my finger at various times by holding it on top of the feeder perch and remaining very still while they sipped the sugar water. All in all, they didn't seem to be very afraid of me at all. :-)

Western rufous hummingbirds migrate through the Rocky Mountains and nearby lowlands during May to September to take advantage of the wildflower season. They may stay in one local region for the entire summer, in which case the migrants, like breeding birds, often aggressively take over and defend feeding locations. Most winter in wooded areas in the Mexican state of Guerrero, traveling over 2,000 mi (3,200 km) by an overland route from its nearest summer home — an incredible journey for a tiny bird weighing only 3 to 4 grams.
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Just Beyond Your Grasp -- Fort Collins
"Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you."
-- Nathaniel Hawthorne

A daintily tattered Painted Lady Butterfly ( Vanessa cardui ) samples the nectar from a tall purple flower on an overcast afternoon in northern Colorado...
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Aliens In The Grass -- Fort Collins, Colorado
This tiny Diamondback Moth ( Plutella xylostella ) was folded up in the blade of a wild tulip in my backyard, and I almost overlooked him because he looked like just a stray bit of debris. But when I peered closer, he looked like some sort of alien bird-of-prey creature with wings made of feathers, which you can see if you view this in light box mode. :-) Thanks to +Seth Burgess for the identification!
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Cleared For Takeoff -- Fort Collins, Colorado
"You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment."
-- Henry David Thoreau

A dragonfly ( Odonata ) suns himself (or herself) atop a dried plant stem along the edges of a pond in northern Colorado...
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