Looking back to warmer times…
The Bronzed or Shore Tiger Beetle (Cicindela repanda) is a common tiger beetle in Alberta, but this was the first time I was able to photograph a mating pair, up on a sandy terrace above the North Saskatchewan River in Edmonton.
I tried to obtain shots of individual specimens, but they were not co-operative at all that spring. Thankfully, the mating pairs were less prone to flee when approached.
I photographed this same species in the fall of 2014 (below). Then, I was walking along the damp sand and stony shoreline right beside the river. I found myself overlooking a sandy clearing up on the riverbank. a clearing in the tangle of plant growth about one metre up on the first terrace above the water. There, darting over the sand, were about a half-dozen tiger beetles.
A closer look at the open area revealed a scattering of D-shaped holes. Leaning over the terrace, and carefully scanning the holes, I found two with tiger beetles waiting near the entrances, just within the shadows. They 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 before disappearing down the burrow again.
The burrows were relatively deep, judging from the time that it took for their posteriors to become visible again, their legs sweeping out still more sand. These were probably the tunnels to be used for winter hibernation. At some point in the season, when the days remain too cold, they will stay down at the end of the burrow. Before long the shifting sands will cover the holes, and the winter snow will hide all trace of them, until spring, when–conditions permitting–they will emerge again.
(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.)
Hairy little critters! Well photographed.
They’re just a bit over a centimetre in length, and very fast, so getting ground-level photographs of them can be quite a challenge!