On Sunday, I went for a hike for a couple of hours in the Manassas Battlefields. Once again, I seemed to have the quietness to myself as I didn't pass another walker the whole time I was there. Why don't more people make use of the beautiful scenic surroundings we have in this area? I can't believe they'd rather be shopping at the mall or closed in a black cinema on such a bright sunny day. Not that I was complaining as I set off at a brisk pace, it meant that I would be more likely to see more of the natural inhabitants without scores of other humans invading their peace. I was making a conscious effort to dull my footsteps by walking on the grassy verges of the tracks rather than crunching on the gravel when a cricket whizzed past my nose and landed at my feet.
While I was bending down to take his photo before he bounced off again, I noticed some other insects as shown below. Initially their bright hues alarmed me but as I tried to keep up with their rapid erratic movements, my fascination with them overcame my fear. They were very pretty, about an inch long, and as I looked closer, I saw they were furry which invited me to stroke them. I'm glad I didn't as when I looked them up on the internet at home, I discovered that they are from the Velvet Ant family. These critters shown are female wingless wasps; the males have black wings. They are commonly known as 'cow killers' because they have a nasty sting. Hmm...
I left them alone to their scurrying back and forth, concentrating on finding something less intimidating to photograph. I found some pretty flowers....
...and a music tree.
Not really sure why someone would hang CDs in a tree, but it made an interesting image. Maybe someone thought it would be a step up from a wind chime?
I also found this gorgeous feather which now sits in a glass goblet at home with a tail feather from a cockerel. I believe this is from a wild turkey, is about 6 inches long and the photo shows how the light reflected different colors from the vane of the feather when turned in the light.
This Great Spangled Fritillary was holding on for life atop some thistles. It was getting quite windy and at times she was bent over at 90 degrees trying to keep her footing.
This last photo was of a fallen conifer that was laying across the path. The demise of the tree had stripped all color from its branches and cones and seeing this photo, it seems hard to believe that it was a hot sunny summer day. It evoked feelings of Christmas and winter, not so far away now.
After only about 5 miles, I retreated to the cool AC of Colin the Cavalier. I'd been scratching continuously all the time as I'd forgotten my bug spray, and was in need of a cool shower and some aloe.
3 weeks ago