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Western Lynx Spider ( Oxyopes scalaris )
A beautifully- colored lynx spider with an impressive array of sensor spikes on its legs prepares to make its final summit approach on the challenging north face route up a tarp in my side yard. Unsurprisingly, the attempt was successful.

This guy had a unique, turret-shaped head with his eight eyes encircling it, but I'm not sure exactly what species this is.

UPDATE: Thanks to +Billy Everyday for the identification help. After taking his suggestion and doing a Google Images search, I believe that this is a Western Lynx spider.

For +Spider Sunday / #SpiderSunday curated by +Lerato Majikfaerie and +Kimberly Hosey, and #Macro4All by +Bill Urwin, +Thomas Kirchen, +Walter Soestbergen (+Macro4All ), and #macromaniacs for +MacroManiacs and +Sandra Deichmann, and #macroaddict (+MacroAddict) curated by +William Banik, & +Stephen Thackeray, and #hqspmacro for +HQSP Macro...
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Like A Magic Well -- Fort Collins, Colorado
“The bee's life is like a magic well: the more you draw from it, the more it fills with water”
― Karl Von Frisch, Bees: Their Vision, Chemical Senses and Language

A honeybee gathers pollen at sunset from deep within a fiery orange flower along Spring Creek in Fort Collins...

For #MacroMonday, and #hqspmacro for +HQSP Macro, and #Macro4All by +Bill Urwin, +Thomas Kirchen, +Walter Soestbergen (+Macro4All ), and #macromaniacs for +MacroManiacs and +Sandra Deichmann, and #macroaddict (+MacroAddict) curated by +William Banik, & +Stephen Thackeray, and ++In Praise of Polllinators curated by +Dusty Gedge, and +AllThingsOrange / #AllThingsOrange curated by +Nina Piccoli, +Lauren Kelly, and +Kenneth Williams...
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African Serval Cat ( Leptailurus serval )
"The voice of the natural world would be, 'Could you please give us space and leave us alone to get along with our own lives and our own ways, because we actually know much better how to do it than when you start interfering."
-- Jane Goodall

A beautiful African Serval Cat naps peacefully in a shady nook at +The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, Colorado...

This unique sanctuary was founded to help deal with the world's "Captive Wildlife Crisis". There are an estimated 30,000+ captive big cats, bears, wolves and other large carnivores living in substandard conditions throughout the U.S. In fact, after illegal drugs and weapons, the exotic animal trade is the third largest source of illicit profits in America - and in the world - today. The sanctuary rescues animals from these captive and often abusive situations and gives them a very large, natural-simulated habitat and world-class veterinary care. Their stated goals are "to prevent and alleviate cruelty to animals which are abandoned or that are subject to deprivation or neglect by providing care and boarding for such animals" and "to rescue and provide life-long homes for large exotic and endangered captive wild animals, and to educate the public about the causes of, and solutions to the World’s captive wildlife crisis".

Some of the serval rescue stories from The Wild Animal Sanctuary's website (http://www.wildanimalsanctuary.org):

Aslyn: Private Surrender —Given to a couple as a wedding gift, Aslyn went from being a “pet” to a liability when the couple’s first baby was born and the Serval became jealous. Surrendered to The Wild Animal Sanctuary, Aslyn now resides in a large enclosure adjacent to two other Servals. She has a cozy heated condo for winter, and lots of space to jump and lounge around on platforms of varying heights.

Diva: Private Surrender —Diva is a female African Serval that was being kept as a “pet” in a New York apartment. Her teeth have been filed down, and her claws removed, in an attempt to make her less dangerous. Even with these “modifications,” her owners quickly realized that she did not make a good “pet” and sought out TWAS as a home for her.

Jules: Private Surrender —Jules is a male African Serval that was someone’s “pet” in California. But like so many other Servals, he started to become temperamental with his owners, and began marking his territory, profusely. His owner relinquished him to a sanctuary in Arizona but they were unable to keep him, and so TWAS gladly took him in.

Gizzy: Idaho State Court Ordered Surrender- Gizzy was being kept by an exotic animal breeder in the State of Idaho. She, and many other Tigers were kept and moved from county to county by a man that was avoiding new regulations that were being put in place to stop him and other people from breeding and selling exotic animals as pets. Finally, state authorities stepped in and obtained a court order shutting down the operation. Gizzy now lives freely at the Sanctuary, and enjoys the company of other rescued Servals.

Shaka: New York State Wildlife Officials Confiscation - Shaka is a Male African Serval that was being kept in a small cage located in a junk-ridden back yard of a couple living in New York State. The couple had purchased Shaka, along with a Mountain Lion and a Black Bear with the intention of keeping them as pets - but once they all had grown up – they were placed in cramped cages out behind the couple’s house. Shaka, and his fellow back yard “pet” friends were rescued and now live in open habitats with others of their own species.

The moral of the story is: Wild animals are wild, and should remain that way. Please do not keep wild animals as pets or encourage others to do so, either. Thanks.

For +CATURDAY! / #Caturday, curated by +Cicely Robin Laing and +Shantha Marie Fountain, and #hqspanimals for +HQSP Animals...
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As Long As You Are Something -- Fort Collins, Colorado
"Everything was giant-sized, as if I were looking through binoculars. 'I' was walking up giant stalks. At first I didn't know what they were or what I was, for that matter. The stalks were tall as redwood trees, and suddenly 'I' realized that I was an insect of some kind. This was a grass blade. I thought I was a fly in a gigantic forest -- a giant fly, because everything was so large and super-real, and I'm used to thinking of flies as small. But I was an ordinary fly. I realized, and this was what the world looked like! Oddly enough, this made me feel better, I didn't care what I was; as long as I was something. So I felt myself go up the grass blade. It's impossible to verbalize the sensations I had, but I remember being aware of the weight of my wings. They seemed very sturdy and reassuring."
-- Jane Roberts, Psychic Politics

A tiny fly perches on a flower stem in my backyard...

For #hqspmacro for +HQSP Macro, and #Macro4All by +Bill Urwin, +Thomas Kirchen, +Walter Soestbergen (+Macro4All ), and #macromaniacs for +MacroManiacs and +Sandra Deichmann, and #macroaddict (+MacroAddict) curated by +William Banik, & +Stephen Thackeray...
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Juvenile Wolf Spider -- Fort Collins, Colorado
I found this sleek lady hanging out on a tarp I had draped over some building materials in my side yard. She was pretty low key while I was snapping a few photos, then scurried off when I got my macro lens a little too close for her comfort.

For +Spider Sunday / #SpiderSunday curated by +Lerato Majikfaerie and +Kimberly Hosey, and #hqspmacro for +HQSP Macro, and #Macro4All by +Bill Urwin, +Thomas Kirchen, +Walter Soestbergen (+Macro4All ), and #macromaniacs for +MacroManiacs and +Sandra Deichmann, and #macroaddict (+MacroAddict) curated by +William Banik, & +Stephen Thackeray...
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Bandit On A Branch -- Fort Collins, Colorado
This sly fellow was fresh from a bird feeder raid, and was making his escape through the shady canopy right after I first walked outside and startled him from his plundering. You can just see the guilt written all over his face, I'm sure. ;)

For #SquirrelSaturday / +Squirrel Saturday curated by +Skippy Sheeskin, and #hqspanimals for +HQSP Animals...
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Japanese Beetle ( Popillia japonica ) -- Bingham, Illinois
I found this little guy nestled in the fold of a leaf one summer day. It looked like he was trying to hide himself safely away from the cares of the world, and I can't but say that I completely sympathize with him in that regard. We all need a cozy leaf to hide in, sometimes... ;)

Paraphrased from Wikipedia:

As the name suggests, the Japanese beetle is native to Japan. The insect was first found in the United States in 1916 in a nursery near Riverton, New Jersey. The beetle larvae are thought to have entered the United States in a shipment of iris bulbs prior to 1912, when inspections of commodities entering the country began. It is not very destructive in Japan, where it is controlled by natural predators, but in North America, it is a serious pest of about 200 species of plants, including rose bushes, grapes, hops, crape myrtles, birch trees, linden trees, and others.

For +BugsEveryday / #BugsEveryday curated by +Chris Mallory, and #hqspmacro for +HQSP Macro, and #Macro4All by +Bill Urwin, +Thomas Kirchen, +Walter Soestbergen (+Macro4All ), and #macromaniacs for +MacroManiacs and +Sandra Deichmann, and #macroaddict (+MacroAddict) curated by +William Banik, & +Stephen Thackeray...
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And May Hath Come -- Fort Collins, Colorado
"Sweet May hath come to love us,
Flowers, trees, their blossoms don;
And through the blue heavens above us
The very clouds move on."
-- Heinrich Heine

A Zerene Fritillary butterfly sips the nectar from an alfalfa bloom in my front yard. A large amount of volunteer alfalfa has grown up in my yard (I have no idea where it came from), and its lovely purple blooms last most of the spring and summer, attracting all sorts of butterflies, bees, and insects. So apart from having to keep it from taking over the entire yard, I've been mostly just letting it grow and taking advantage of some of the photo opportunities it affords. :)

For #FloralFriday! The +FloralFriday theme was created by +Tamara Pruessner and is co-curated by +Beth Akerman, +Kiki Nelson, and +Eustace James, and #hqspflowers for +HQSP Flowers, and +FLOWER POWER / #FlowerPower curated by +Edith Kukla, and +//flower colors// curated by +angelic labru, and +On the Wings of Butterflies! curated by +Cicely Robin Laing and +Sharon Jeannette, and ++In Praise of Polllinators curated by +Dusty Gedge...
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Leaf Hopper Nymph -- Fort Collins, Colorado
"“You need to let the little things that would ordinarily bore you suddenly thrill you.”
-- Andy Warhol

I found this tiny but very colorful little fellow on the stem of a thistle plant near my office building in northern Colorado. He and a few other friends (quite possibly siblings from the same hatch) were just hanging out in a small bit of sunshine that had appeared from the overcast skies. I haven't been able to identify his genus and species, so if anyone has any ideas about his identity please let me know. Cheers.

For #WhateverWednesday / +Whatever Wednesday!!! curated by +Cicely Robin Laing, and #hqspmacro for +HQSP Macro, and #Macro4All by +Bill Urwin, +Thomas Kirchen, +Walter Soestbergen (+Macro4All ), and #macromaniacs for +MacroManiacs and +Sandra Deichmann, and #macroaddict (+MacroAddict) curated by +William Banik, & +Stephen Thackeray...
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Female Box Turtle ( Terrapene carolina ) -- Bingham, Illinois
I found this gentle and charming lady near a secluded creek bed in the deep deciduous forest of southern Illinois. I had been searching for morel mushrooms (https://goo.gl/AxPhVJ) when I saw her sitting in a sunbeam in a shady little nook beneath some dense underbrush. I took a few portraits and then vacated the area so that she'd feel free to move about again.

For #hqspanimals for +HQSP Animals, and #hqspmacro +HQSP Macro curated by +Stefanie Schächtel +Peter Marbaise +Evi Verstraeten +Robert Kubacki +Andi Fritzsch and +Leanne Cole, and #Macro4All by +Bill Urwin, +Thomas Kirchen, +Walter Soestbergen (+Macro4All ), and #macromaniacs for +MacroManiacs and +Sandra Deichmann, and #macroaddict (+MacroAddict) curated by +William Banik, & +Stephen Thackeray...
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