Greetings and welcome to my blog, I am currently redesigning the site so some of my pictures are unfortunately missing because I had to close my sellers account that I had with the Smugmug site because as a free lance photographer I just couldn't afford it.
Once again I apologize for the bareness of my blog and will be working on it continually until I get it restored.
Thank you for your patience! -Megan

Monday, August 27, 2012

Our Guard Llama Photos

Greetings Bloggers, It’s been a few days at least since my last post sorry for the delay. These photos are of the Llama that used to guard our herds of Boer goats in our pasture in western Texas. I have added several new photos to my Animals and wildlife gallery, I have also added an entirely new gallery of Photos that I took at the Hot Air Balloon Festival at White Sands National Monument , right outside Alamogordo, New mexico.  Please visit my Website by Clicking Here and check out the new photos that I have added.  All of my photography is Available for sale and also for instant download for Personal or Commercial use.

Hope you enjoy the Llama photos!
Click on the photos to view them larger and to see other photos in my gallery.

Llama guarding a ranchers herd of Boer Goats in west Texas.
Llama guarding a ranchers herd of Boer Goats in west Texas. A Llama enjoying herself in a watertrough on a ranch in west Texas where she protectively guards the ranchers herd of goats. Llama guarding a ranchers herd of Boer Goats in west Texas.
The llama: (Lama glama) is a domesticated South American camelid, widely used as a meat and pack animal by Andean cultures since pre-Hispanic times.

 The height of a full-grown, full-size llama is 5.5 to 6.0 ft. tall at the top of the head, and can weigh between 280 to 450 lbs. At birth, a baby llama (called a Cria, from Spanish for "baby") is also is used for baby alpaca, vicuña, or guanaco. Crias are typically born with all the females of the herd gathering around, in an attempt to protect against the male llamas and potential predators. A Cria can weigh between 20 and 30 lbs. Llamas can live for a period of about 20–30 years depending on how well they are taken care of.

 Llamas are very social animals and live with other llamas as a herd. The wool produced by a llama is very soft and lanolin-free. Llamas are intelligent and can learn simple tasks after a few repetitions. When using a pack, llamas can carry about 25% to 30% of their body weight for 5-8 miles.

 The name llama (in the past also spelled 'lama' or 'glama') was adopted by European settlers from native Peruvians.

 Llamas appear to have originated from the central plains of North America, then migrated to South America about 3 million years ago. By the end of the ice age camelids were extinct in North America.

 As of 2007, there were over 7 million llamas and alpacas in South America and, due to importation from South America in the late 20th century, there are now over 158,000 llamas and 100,000 alpacas in the United States and Canada.

Guarding Behavior:  Using llamas as livestock guards in North America began in the early 1980s, and some Ranchers have used llamas successfully since then to watch over flocks of sheep and herds of goats. They are used most commonly in the in western regions of the United States, where larger predators, such as the coyote, are prevalent. It was once thought that a single gelding (castrated male) is was the best choice for a guardian, but the knowledge has become rather widespread that a single unbred females make better and safer guardians because they are more alert and do not pose as big of a threat to smothering smaller livestock.

 Research suggests the use of multiple guard llamas is not as effective as one. Multiple males tend to bond with one another, rather than with the livestock, and may ignore the flock. A gelded male of two years of age bonds closely with its new charges and is instinctively very effective in preventing predation. Some llamas appear to bond more quickly to sheep or goats if they are introduced just prior to lambing. Many sheep and goat producers indicate a special bond quickly develops between lambs and their guard llama and the llama is particularly protective of the lambs.

 Using llamas as guards has eliminated the losses to predators for many producers. The value of the livestock saved each year more than exceeds the purchase cost and annual maintenance of a llama. Although not every llama is suited to the job, most are a viable, nonlethal alternative for reducing predation, requiring no training and little care.

Guard llamas may defend against predators in many ways. Llamas are instinctively alert and aware of their surroundings, and may draw attention to an intruder by making a startling alarm call. They may walk or run toward an intruder, and chase, paw at, or kick it. Some llamas may herd the animals they are

guarding into a tight group or lead them away from danger and to the spot where they may feel the safest. Others may stand apart from the group and watch the intruder. Although llamas have been known to kill predators (such as coyotes), they should not be considered attack animals. They are generally effective against single intruders only, not packs. In the US, guard llamas have been most common in ranches located in western regions, where larger predators, such as the coyote, have been more prevalent. Not every llama will guard however and it should not be assumed that because it is a llama it will guard.

History of the Llama in culture:

 Pre-Incan cultures

The Moche people frequently placed llamas and llama parts in the burials of important people, as offerings or provisions for what they believed was the afterlife. The Moche culture of pre-Columbian Peru depicted llamas quite realistically in their ceramics.


Inca empire

 In the Inca empire, llamas were the only beasts of burden, and many of the peoples dominated by the Inca had long traditions of llama herding. For the Inca nobility, the llama was of symbolic significance, and llama figures were often buried with the dead. In South America, llamas are still used as beasts of burden, as well as for the production of fiber and meat. The Inca deity Urcuchillay was depicted in the form of a multicolored llama. Agriculture was also boosted by using Llama dung as fertilizer.


Spanish empire

 One of the main uses for llamas at the time of the Spanish conquest was to bring down ore from the mines in the mountains. Gregory de Bolivar estimated that in his day, as many as 300 thousand were employed in the transport of produce from the Potosí mines alone, but since the introduction of horses, mules, and donkeys, the importance of the llama as a beast of burden has greatly diminished.


According to Juan Ignacio Molina, the Dutch captain Joris van Spilbergen observed the use of chilihueques (possibly a llama type) by native Mapuches of Mocha Island as plow animals in 1614.

Fiber :  Llamas have a fine undercoat which can be used for handicrafts and garments. The coarser outer guard hair is used for rugs, wall-hangings and lead ropes. The fiber comes in many different colors ranging from white or grey to reddish-brown, brown, dark brown and black.  The fiber of their coat is one of the finest natural fibers with a Diameter of 20-30 micrometres.

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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Dutch Crocus flowers pickwick variety

Greetings! The photos featured today are of Dutch crocus that I captured blooming very early in the spring. I believe these particular Dutch Crocus are of the Pickwick variety (Crocus flavus).  
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Crocus (plural: crocuses, croci) is a genus in the iris family comprising about 80 species of perennials growing from corms. Many are cultivated for their flowers appearing in autumn, winter, or spring. Crocuses are native to woodland, scrub and meadows from sea level to alpine tundra in central and southern Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, on the islands of the Aegean, and across Central Asia to western China.

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Etymology The name of the genus is derived from the Greek krokos (κρόκος). This in turn is probably a loan word from a Semitic language, related to Hebrew כרכום karkōm, Aramaic ܟܟܘܪܟܟܡܡܐ kurkama, Persian and Arabic كركم kurkum, which mean saffron or saffron yellow. The name ultimately comes from Sanskrit कुङ्कुमं kunkumam, unless the Sanskrit word is from the Semitic one.

History Cultivation and harvesting of crocus was first documented in the Mediterranean, notably on the island of Crete. Frescos showing them are extant at the Knossos site on Crete as well as from a comparably aged site on Santorini.

 The first crocus seen in the Netherlands, where Crocus species are not native, were from corms brought back in the 1560s from Constantinople by the Holy Roman Emperor's ambassador to the Sublime Porte, Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq. A few corms were forwarded to Carolus Clusius at the botanical garden in Leiden. By 1620, the approximate date of Ambrosius Bosschaert's painting, new garden varieties had been developed, such as the cream-colored crocus feathered with bronze at the base of the bouquet, similar to varieties still on the market. Bosschaert, working from a preparatory drawing to paint his composed piece spanning the whole of Spring, exaggerated the crocus so that it passes for a tulip, but its narrow, grasslike leaves give it away.

Description  The cup-shaped, solitary, salverform flowers taper off into a narrow tube. Their color varies enormously, although lilac, mauve, yellow and white are predominant. The grass-like, ensiform leaf shows generally a white central stripe along the leaf axis. The leaf margin is entire. Crocuses typically have three stamens. The spice saffron is obtained from the stigmas of Crocus sativus, an autumn/fall-blooming species.

 Some Crocus species, known as "autumn crocus", flower in September to November in the Northern Hemisphere. Some flower before their leaves appear. Autumn/fall flowering species include: Crocus banaticus (syn. C. iridiflorus), C.cancellatus, C. goulimyi, C. hadriaticus, C. kotschyanus (syn. C. zonatus), C. laevigatus, Crocus ligusticus (syn. C. medius ), C. niveus, C. nudiflorus, C. ochroleucus, C. pulchellus, C. sativus (saffron crocus), C. serotinus, C. speciosus, C. tournefortii. Crocus laevigatus has a long flowering-period which starts in late autumn or early winter and may continue into February.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Curve Billed Thrasher Desert Bird

Greetings, These are photos that I captured in the desert of southern New Mexico of a pair of Curve-billed thrasher (Toxostoma curvirostre) birds living in a cane Cholla cactus(Cylindropuntia imbricata). I have posted three different shots  and if you click on the photos It should take you to My Website where you can view the photos in a larger size and Also check out my other wildlife photos.

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The Curve-billed Thrasher (Toxostoma curvirostre) is a perching bird of the thrasher group native to the southwestern United States and much of Mexico.
The Curve-billed Thrasher (Toxostoma curvirostre) is a perching bird of the thrasher group native to the southwestern United States and much of Mexico. The Curve-billed Thrasher (Toxostoma curvirostre) is a perching bird of the thrasher group native to the southwestern United States and much of Mexico.

The Curve-billed Thrasher (Toxostoma curvirostre) is a perching bird of the thrasher group native to the southwestern United States and much of Mexico.

Description The Curve-billed Thrasher is generally 25 to 28 cm (10 to 12 inches) long, slender in build with a long tail, and a long, curved, sickle-shaped bill. It is pale grayish-brown above with lighter-colored underparts that are vaguely streaked. The tips of the tail are streaked with white, and the sides of the tail are a darker color than its back. The eye of an adult is usually a vivid orange or red-orange, although immature birds have a yellow eye.

Habitat and Range The Curve-billed Thrasher is commonly found throughout the deserts and brush-filled areas of the south-western United States, from about the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and across New Mexico to west Texas, as well as most of Mexico, from the Sonoran-Chihuahuan Deserts and south through the Mexican Plateau to regions south of the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt in south-central Mexico.

Breeding The Curve-billed Thrasher often roosts in a tall tree or spiny vegetation, preferring a cactus. The nest is a loosely woven cup made of thorny twigs. The female lays 2 to 4 eggs, which are bluish-green and speckled with brown. The eggs are incubated by both sexes, and hatch after about thirteen days. The young will leave the nest after 14 to 18 days after hatching.

Diet The Curve-billed Thrasher feeds on ground-dwelling insects, as well as seeds, and berries. It often pushes out Cactus Wrens in its area. This thrasher's voice is a sharp, liquid, whistle wit-WEET!, or wit-WEET-wit, as well as a warbling, squeaky, hurried song.

Similar species Because of its similar coloration to Bendire's Thrasher, the two birds are easily mistaken for one another. Bendire's Thrasher's shorter and straighter bill and yellow eyes distinguish it from mature Curve-billed Thrashers. However, it is still easy to misidentify a young Curve-billed Thrasher as a Bendire's Thrasher as its beak has not grown to its mature length and curvature, and its eyes are still yellow. Aside from Bendire's Thrasher, the Curve-billed Thrasher can be easily distinguished from other thrasher species in its range as it has a streaked breast, unlike the others' plain breasts.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Honey Bees Winter Cluster Photo

Greetings, This is a photo that I was blessed to capture several years ago one cold morning when I was out with the family driving around our ranch to check on our livestock. It is a swarm of honey bees that are all clumped up together to stay warm, AKA a "winter cluster". The bees were very lethargic because it was so cold so I was able to get fairly close up to them without them stirring. I hope that you will enjoy the information that I have collected to go with this post as well.
A swarm of bees I found in the Chihuahuan Desert, This was taken on a very chilly morning and the bees were very lethargic and grouping together to stay warm.

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Honey bees (or honeybees) are a subset of bees in the genus Apis, primarily distinguished by the production and storage of honey and the construction of perennial, colonial nests out of wax. Honey bees are the only extant members of the tribe Apini, all in the genus Apis. Currently, there are only seven recognised species of honey bee with a total of 44 subspecies,though historically, anywhere from six to eleven species have been recognised. Honey bees represent only a small fraction of the approximately 20,000 known species of bees. Some other types of related bees produce and store honey, but only members of the genus Apis are true honey bees.

Orgin and distribution Honey bees as a group appear to have their centre of origin in South and South East Asia (including the Philippines), as all but one (i.e. Apis mellifera), of the extant species are native to that region. Notably the most plesiomorphic living species (Apis florea and Apis andreniformis) has the center of origin there.

 They say the first Apis bees appear in the fossil record at the Eocene–Oligocene (23-56 Mya) boundary, in European deposits. The origin of these prehistoric honey bees does not necessarily indicate that Europe is where the genus originated, only that it occurred there at that time. There are few known fossil deposits in South Asia, the suspected region of honey bee origin, and fewer still have been thoroughly studied.

 No Apis species existed in New World in In Ancient history before introduction of Apis melifera by Europeans. There is only one fossil species documented, Apis nearctica, known from a single 14-million-year old (so they say) specimen from Nevada.

The close relatives of modern honey bees –- e.g. bumblebees and stingless bees –- are also social to some degree, and social behavior seems a plesiomorphic trait that predates the origin of the genus. Among the extant members of Apis, the more basal species make single, exposed combs, while the more recently evolved species nest in cavities and have multiple combs, which has greatly facilitated their domestication.

 Most species have historically been cultured or at least exploited for honey and beeswax by humans indigenous to their native ranges. Only two of these species have been truly domesticated, one (Apis mellifera) at least since the time of the building of the Egyptian pyramids, and only that species has been moved extensively beyond its native range. Today's honey bees constitute three clades.


 Eastern species Eastern honey bee (Apis cerana) from Hong Kong

These are three or four species. The reddish Koschevnikov's bee (Apis koschevnikovi) from Borneo is well distinct; it probably derives from the first colonization of the island by cave-nesting honey bees. Apis cerana, the Eastern honey bee proper, is the traditional honey bee of southern and eastern Asia, kept in hives in a similar fashion to Apis mellifera, though on a much smaller and regionalised scale. It has not been possible yet to resolve its relationship to the Bornean Apis cerana nuluensis and Apis nigrocincta from the Philippines to satisfaction; the most recent hypothesis is that these are indeed distinct species but that A. cerana is still paraphyletic, consisting of several good species.

 Apis mellifera, the most commonly domesticated species, was the third insect to have its genome mapped. It seems to have originated in eastern tropical Africa and spread from there to Northern Europe and eastwards into Asia to the Tien Shan range. It is variously called the European, Western or Common honey bee in different parts of the world. There are many subspecies that have adapted to the local geographic and climatic environment, and in addition, hybrid strains such as the Buckfast bee have been bred. Behavior, color and anatomy can be quite different from one subspecies or even strain to another.

 Regarding phylogeny, this is the most enigmatic honey bee species. It seems to have diverged from its Eastern relatives only during the Late Miocene. This would fit the hypothesis that the ancestral stock of cave-nesting honey bees was separated into the Western group of E Africa and the Eastern group of tropical Asia by desertification in the Middle East and adjacent regions, which caused declines of foodplants and trees which provided nest sites, eventually causing gene flow to cease. The diversity of subspecies is probably the product of a largely Early Pleistocene radiation aided by climate and habitat changes during the last ice age. That the Western honey bee has been intensively managed by humans since many millennia – including hybridization and introductions – has apparently increased the speed of its evolution and confounded the DNA sequence data to a point where little of substance can be said about the exact relationships of many A. mellifera subspecies.

Transportation of Bees to the Americas Apis mellifera is not native to the Americas and therefore were not present upon the arrival of the European explorers and colonists. There were, however, other native honey bee species kept and traded by indigenous peoples. In 1622, European colonists brought the dark bee (A. m. mellifera) to the Americas, followed later by Italian bees (A. m. ligustica) and others. Many of the crops that depend on honey bees for pollination have also been imported since colonial times. Escaped swarms (known as "wild" bees, but actually feral) spread rapidly as far as the Great Plains, usually preceding the colonists. Honey bees did not naturally cross the Rocky Mountains; they were transported by the Mormon pioneers to Utah in the late 1840s, and by ship to California in the early 1850s.

Africanized bee Africanized bees (known colloquially as "killer bees") are hybrids between European stock and one of the African subspecies A. m. scutellata; they are often more aggressive than and do not create as much of a surplus as European bees, but are more resistant to disease and are better foragers[citation needed]. Originating by accident in Brazil, they have spread to North America and constitute a pest in some regions. However, these strains do not overwinter well, and so are not often found in the colder, more northern parts of North America. On the other hand, the original breeding experiment for which the African bees were brought to Brazil in the first place has continued (though not as intended). Novel hybrid strains of domestic and re-domesticated Africanized bees combine high resilience to tropical conditions and good yields. They are popular among beekeepers in Brazil.

Beekeeping Two species of honey bee, A. mellifera and A. cerana indica, are often maintained, fed, and transported by beekeepers. Modern hives also enable beekeepers to transport bees, moving from field to field as the crop needs pollinating and allowing the beekeeper to charge for the pollination services they provide, revising the historical role of the self-employed beekeeper, and favoring large-scale commercial operations.

Beekeepers in Western countries have been reporting slow declines of stocks for many years, apparently due to impaired protein production, changes in agricultural practice, or unpredictable weather. In early 2007, abnormally high die-offs (30-70% of hives) of European honey bee colonies occurred in North America; such a decline seems unprecedented in recent history. This has been dubbed "Colony collapse disorder" (CCD); it is unclear whether this is simply an accelerated phase of the general decline due to stochastically more adverse conditions in 2006, or a novel phenomenon. Research has so far failed to determine what causes it, but the weight of evidence is tentatively leaning towards CCD being a syndrome rather than a disease as it seems to be caused by a combination of various contributing factors rather than a single pathogen or poison.

Life Cycle  As in a few other types of eusocial bees, a colony generally contains one queen bee, a fertile female; seasonally up to a few thousand drone bees or fertile males;and a large seasonally variable population of sterile female worker bees. Details vary among the different species of honey bees, but common features include:

1. Eggs are laid singly in a cell in a wax honeycomb, produced and shaped by the worker bees. Using her spermatheca, the queen actually can choose to fertilize the egg she is laying, usually depending on what cell she is laying in. Drones develop from unfertilised eggs and are haploid, while females (queens and worker bees) develop from fertilised eggs and are diploid. Larvae are initially fed with royal jelly produced by worker bees, later switching to honey and pollen. The exception is a larva fed solely on royal jelly, which will develop into a queen bee. The larva undergoes several moltings before spinning a cocoon within the cell, and pupating.

 2. Young worker bees clean the hive and feed the larvae. When their royal jelly producing glands begin to atrophy, they begin building comb cells. They progress to other within-colony tasks as they become older, such as receiving nectar and pollen from foragers, and guarding the hive. Later still, a worker takes her first orientation flights and finally leaves the hive and typically spends the remainder of her life as a forager.

 3. Worker bees cooperate to find food and use a pattern of "dancing" (known as the bee dance or waggle dance) to communicate information regarding resources with each other; this dance varies from species to species, but all living species of Apis exhibit some form of the behavior. If the resources are very close to the hive, they may also exhibit a less specific dance commonly known as the "Round Dance".

 4. Honey bees also perform tremble dances which recruit receiver bees to collect nectar from returning foragers.

 5. Virgin queens go on mating flights away from their home colony, and mate with multiple drones before returning. The drones die in the act of mating.

 6. Colonies are established not by solitary queens, as in most bees, but by groups known as "swarms", which consist of a mated queen and a large contingent of worker bees. This group moves en masse to a nest site that has been scouted by worker bees beforehand. Once they arrive, they immediately construct a new wax comb and begin to raise new worker brood. This type of nest founding is not seen in any other living bee genus, though there are several groups of Vespid wasps which also found new nests via swarming (sometimes including multiple queens). Also, stingless bees will start new nests with large numbers of worker bees, but the nest is constructed before a queen is escorted to the site, and this worker force is not a true "swarm".

Winter survival In cold climates honey bees stop flying when the temperature drops below about 10 °C (50 °F) and crowd into the central area of the hive to form a "winter cluster". The worker bees huddle around the queen bee at the center of the cluster, shivering in order to keep the center between 27 °C (81 °F) at the start of winter (during the broodless period) and 34 °C (93 °F) once the queen resumes laying. The worker bees rotate through the cluster from the outside to the inside so that no bee gets too cold. The outside edges of the cluster stay at about 8–9 °C (46–48 °F). The colder the weather is outside, the more compact the cluster becomes. During winter, they consume their stored honey to produce body heat. The amount of honey consumed during the winter is a function of winter length and severity but ranges in temperate climates from 30 to 100 lbs.

Pollination Species of Apis are generalist floral visitors, and will pollinate a large variety of plants, but by no means all plants. Of all the honey bee species, only Apis mellifera has been used extensively for commercial pollination of crops and other plants. The value of these pollination services is commonly measured in the billions of dollars.

 Honey Honey is the complex substance made when the nectar and sweet deposits from plants and trees are gathered, modified and stored in the honeycomb by honey bees as a food source for the colony. All living species of Apis have had their honey gathered by indigenous peoples for consumption, though for commercial purposes only Apis mellifera and Apis cerana have been exploited to any degree. Honey is sometimes also gathered by humans from the nests of various stingless bees. In 1911 a bee culturists estimated that a quart of honey represented bees flying over an estimated 48,000 miles to gather the pollen needed for the nectar to produce the honey.

 Honeycombs and Beeswax Worker bees of a certain age will secrete beeswax from a series of glands on their abdomens. They use the wax to form the walls and caps of the comb. As with honey, beeswax is gathered for various purposes.

 Pollen Bees collect pollen in the pollen basket and carry it back to the hive. In the hive, pollen is used as a protein source necessary during brood-rearing. In certain environments, excess pollen can be collected from the hives of A. mellifera and A. cerana. It is often eaten as a health supplement.

 Propolis Propolis or bee glue is created from resins, balsams and tree saps. Those species of honey bees which nest in tree cavities use propolis to seal cracks in the hive. Dwarf honey bees use propolis to defend against ants by coating the branch from which their nest is suspended to create a sticky moat. Propolis is consumed by humans as a health supplement in various ways and also used in some cosmetics.

Defense All honey bees live in colonies where the worker bees will sting intruders as a form of defense, and alarmed bees will release a pheromone that stimulates the attack response in other bees. The different species of honey bees are distinguished from all other bee species (and virtually all other Hymenoptera) by the possession of small barbs on the sting, but these barbs are found only in the worker bees. The sting and associated venom sac are also modified so as to pull free of the body once lodged (autotomy), and the sting apparatus has its own musculature and ganglion which allow it to keep delivering venom once detached. The worker bee dies after the stinger is torn from its body. Contrast to common belief, the Honey bee is the only bee that does this. All other bees live on afterwards. As with other forms of life, warnings are given before an attack is launched. In the case of some honey bee species in the wild, this takes the form of a 'Mexican wave' which spreads as a ripple across a layer of bees densely packed on the surface of a comb when a threat is perceived, and consists of bees momentarily arching their bodies and flicking their wings.

 This complex apparatus, including the barbs on the stinger, in response to predation by vertebrates, the barbs do not usually function (and the sting apparatus does not detach) unless the sting is embedded in fleshy tissue. While the sting can also penetrate the flexible exoskeletal joints in appendages of other insects (and is used in fights between queens), in the case of Apis cerana defense against other insects such as predatory wasps is usually performed by surrounding the intruder with a mass of defending worker bees, who vibrate their muscles so vigorously that it raises the temperature of the intruder to a lethal level. It was previously thought that the heat alone was responsible for killing intruding wasps, but recent experiments have demonstrated that it is the increased temperature in combination with increased carbon dioxide levels within the ball that produces the lethal effect.This phenomenon is also used to kill a queen perceived as intruding or defective, an action known to beekeepers as, balling the queen, named for the ball of bees formed.

Communication Honey bees are known to communicate through many different chemicals and odours, as is common in insects, but also using specific behaviours that convey information about the quality and type of resources in the environment, and where these resources are located. The details of the signalling being used vary from species to species; for example, the two smallest species, Apis andreniformis and Apis florea, dance on the upper surface of the comb, which is horizontal (not vertical, as in other species), and worker bees orient the dance in the actual compass direction of the resource to which they are recruiting.

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Monday, August 13, 2012

Allthorn bush's yellow flowers

Greetings, Would like to share with you these wonderful pictures that I captured early this spring here in the local desert hills here in west Texas. These beautiful yellow flowers are those of an Allthorn bush.
Koeberlinia spinosa is a species of flowering plant native to the southwestern United States and northern Mexico known by several common names, including Crown of Thorns, Allthorn,, Junco, Coronara de Cristo, Spiny Allthorn, Corona de Cristo and Crucifixion Thorn. It is the sole species of the monotypic genus Koeberlinia, which is sometimes considered to be the only genus in the plant family Koeberliniaceae. Alternately it is treated as a member of the caper family. This is a shrub of moderate to large size, sprawling to maximum heights over 4 m (13 ft). It is entirely green while growing and is made up of tangling straight stems which branch many times. The tip of each rigid stem branch tapers into a long, sharp spine. Leaves are mainly rudimentary, taking the form of tiny deciduous scales. Most of the photosynthesis occurs in the green stem branches. The shrub blooms abundantly in white to greenish-white flowers. The fruits are shiny black berries each a few millimeters long; they are attractive to birds.
Koeberlinia spinosa can be found in northern regions of the Mexican Plateau and in the east down into the northern foothills of the Sierra Madre Orientals. In the west it ranges into the southern, and central Sonoran Desert of Sonora, and southern and southwestern Arizona; it also ranges into three areas of Baja California Sur-(part of the Sonoran Desert) also found in the Chihuahuan desert of northern mexico and west Texas.
An Allthorn bush in full bloom in the chihuahuan desert of west texas. (Koeberlinia spinosa) An Allthorn bush in full bloom in early spring in the chihuahuan desert of west texas. (Koeberlinia spinosa)

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Purple cane cholla cactus flowers

Greetings!  This today I thought I would post a picture that I had just uploaded to My new website, This is a photo of a blooming cane cholla, (Cylindropuntia imbricata) , Grows throughout the southwestern united states and mexico.  The purple flowers are gorgeous in springtime.
You can buy prints of this photo and see many of my other photos my clicking on the picture it should take you to My website.

The cane cholla (or walking stick cholla, tree cholla, chainlink cactus, etc.) (Cylindropuntia imbricata) is a cactus found in the Southwestern United States and northern Mexico, including some cooler regions in comparison to many other cacti. It occurs primarily in arid regions but can also be found scattered across locations in the semi-arid High Plains of the Texas Panhandle and eastern New Mexico. It is often conspicuous because of its shrubby or even tree-like size, its silhouette, and its long-lasting yellowish fruits

The plant itself is a popular spot for desert birds to build their nests , the many spines of the cactus give a fully secure and protected area from many types of critters that would prey on the eggs and baby birds.

The cactus is often collected when dried for uses in furniture and decoration and is also used in making decorative canes which I believe gives it its name.
Purple flowers of a cholla cactus.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Pink Hedgehog cactus flowers

Greetings! This is a one of my favorite photos, as you can probably tell because i have it constantly framed on the side of my blog lol. They are the pink blossoms of an Engelmann's Hedgehog cactus  (Echinocereus engelmannii)that I found blooming in the Chihuahuan Desert of west Texas a few springs ago. They are few and far between on our ranch here but in the spring time when they do bloom they are very easy to spot because of thier vibrant color.
You should be able to click on the picture and it will take you to My Website and if not you can click on the link I just embedded. Please leave Me a comment if you cannot navigate to My Website by clicking on the photo. I have many other photos of Cactus of the desert southwest in my gallery Plants and flowers so please check it out.
Pink hedgehog cactus blossoms in the Chihuahuan desert of west texas.

You can also purchase postage stamps featuring this Photo and many more products here in My Zazzle store All products are customizable.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Honey bee on Lemon Blossom

Here is a photo that is featured on my website for sale.
Its a honey bee pollinating an Orange Blossom.
Here is my website were you can find the photo for sale as prints or on multiple products.
The photo is featured in the Plants and Flowers gallery.
My Website
Hope you enjoy!

My own Website

Greetings bloggers! I have a great announcement I now have my own website where you can buy Prints of my Photography ,I have finally decided that it was time to invest in a professional website rather than trying to get anywhere with stock photo websites, since they have become so picky these days.

(If you are a photographer that sells your work online I am sure you completely understand where I am coming from there.)

 You can buy almost any kind of prints from Canvas to Printing on Metal, Also many styles of cards and other products and you can even Purchase and Download my photos for personal or Commercial use.

Even if you are not interested in purchasing anof my photos please have a look and give me some feedback on what you like or dislike about the site.

I only have three galleries currently on the site but will be adding more shortly!

Here is the link : I also now have it listed as “my website” on my favorite links on the side of the page.

If you are a fellow photographer that has a site on Smugmug I would love to hear from you and get to talk with you about your experience with the site so feel free to leave a comment or two.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Newest Photo gallery

Greetings bloggers, I would like to announce that I have created a gallery for myself on the website, I had never heard of the site myself until a friend mentioned. I am really glad that I found the website because I have as much fun on the website looking at fellow photographer's pics as I do posting my own. If you are a photographer you should check it out because you will love it! There are no pesky reviewers to downplay your photos best of all its free! Please check out my page, I am still adding photos to it daily. You can also buy Canvas prints, or download an individual photo instantly (a feature that I also really like)  Here is the link to my page on the site, I will also be adding it to my Link list on the blog shortly.
    Hope you enjoy the site!