Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Death in The Sanctuary

Every day's an adventure. That's what I so love about our ever-evolving Wildscape. Whenever I step outside for a break, I always see something new. Yesterday, I got down on my knees and eye-to-eye with a lovely monarch. It didn't seem to mind me being so close. I watched quietly while it slipped its long, thin proboscis (mouth) up and down within a blue mistflower. As I crouched, I could even hear the wingbeats of nearby queens and monarchs.

Awhile ago, I strolled past The Sanctuary, a corner area in the back yard that we let grow free. After surveying the bird bath and brush, I leaned over and peered down into the hole that's been there since summer. Hmm, only blackness. I should get a flashlight, I thought. Wonder where the owner is? Last August 20, I shot photos of the six-legged digger, blogged about our encounter, and surmised the critter to be an ox beetle (Strategus aloeus). Today, my glance wandered a bit further beyond a water plate we set out for toads....

"Awwww." A dead body lay upside down atop the leaf litter.

Alas, our secretive ox beetle had up and died. But he shall not go unnoticed or forgotten. Now I had my chance to photograph him from any angle I wanted. And I did.

First sight

How he might have looked climbing into his hole

Front view

Side view (the humps indicate that he's a male)

Farewell, friend

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