Late summer: shorter days and cooler nights. This week we’ve had frost most nights, and it’s still not the middle of September.
Last week, a walk along the damp sand and stone shoreline of the North Saskatchewan River found me overlooking a sandy opening up on the riverbank. a clearing in the shoreline tangle of plant growth about one metre up on the first terrace above the water. Beneath me,
half sunk, a shatter’d visage lies darting over the sand, were about a half-dozen tiger beetles.
A closer look at the open area revealed a scattering of the D-shaped holes that typify those used by Cicindelids. Leaning over the terrace, and carefully scanning the holes, I first found two with tiger beetles waiting near the entrances, just within the shadows. The darted back into the darkness as I drew near. Other holes showed more activity…the reversing rear-end of a beetle as it swept sand out-of-the-way before disappearing down the burrow again.
And the holes were relatively deep, judging from the time that it took for their
little butts posterior abdomens to become visible again, their legs sweeping out still more sand. These are the tunnels for winter hibernation, and at some point in the season when the days remain too cold, they will stay down there. Before long the shifting sands will cover the holes, and tiger beetles will become just a memory until they, conditions permitting, emerge again in spring.
Kinda sounds like me…
(Image info: North Saskatchewan River, Edmonton, 5 September, 2014. Canon 5D Mk II, Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens on a Kenko Teleplus PRO 300 DGX 1.4x AF Teleconverter. Lighting with a single diffused Canon Speedlite 270EX II. All photos ISO 200, 1/160 sec. @ f16. Image cropped and processed in Lightroom 5)