The closest stop sign is over a mile away and the first traffic light is 5+ miles down the road. A visit to the grocery store is almost 30 miles round trip. It's quiet here; just the sound of toads and coyotes at night. It seems very still, but when you look close there's always something happening. Read on about a few things we've noticed over the past few years.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Taranutula Hawks - hunting for supper

No one likes a bee or a wasp ruining their picnic, but this is one wasp I find interesting.   The guy on the right is a tarantula hawk (aka T-hawk) a member of the wasp family.  I'd seen a few buzzing around the house a few times and I'd always steer clear - they are quite a bit larger than your normal wasp, more like the size of a small humming bird.  I hadn't paid them much mind til I spotted one in a book and read up on them.  I don't care much for tarantulas (aka Trannys) for a variety of reasons.  Now don't be getting your feathers ruffled and go telling me how harmless Trannys are and what good they do us.  I don't like them - period. 
Well anyhow, T-hawks sting the Trannys and drag the comatose prey back to their nests to feed their own larvae.  When I arrived home one evening I spotted two T-hawks tumbling around in the dirt fighting each other near the outside of my garage.  The Tranny had already been stung because it laid nearby in a complete stillness.  Finally one T-hawk limped off in a shameful defeat and the victor drug it's delicious dinner home for the kiddies.   I took the pic up top myself to prove it.   By the way, this Tranny measured about 4 inches across to give you an idea of the size of both these guys.  Now each time a T-hawk buzzes by I watch where it doubt hunting for the next family feast. 

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