In awe

This morning I ran across this article on NPR, Stuck In A Rut? Sometimes Joy Takes A Little Practice. Near the bottom of the article, it lists three ways to practice happiness. Number two in the list is “Take an awe walk”. I feel that is what I do every time I step outside. So I continue on with my Monday awe walk on the grasslands.

This is a favorite soil squamulose lichen. A Psora species that is often be found on the barrens. I am not sure of the exact species but most likely Psora decipiens known as Blushing Scale.

Meanwhile, as I looked at the lichen, I noticed a bee fly (Bombylius) perched on the Hairy Grama!

Another angle!

The dew glistens on the bee fly’s eyes. And the dew magnifies the lenses on the eye.

A close up the Pasture Heliotrope! Here the sunlight and the dew covers the tiny flower.

Often what lies in front of you is hard to spot. The Three-banded Grasshopper (Hadrotettix trifasciatus) has the perfect camouflage in the limestone gravel.

Even close up, the Three-banded Grasshopper is hard to distinguish from the background.

Scurf-pea Linearifolia (Psoralea linearifolium) is a plant that can disappear in the barrens. However, it can tower above the other plants which makes it easier to find.

Scurf-pea Linearifolia is in the legume family and has the typical pea-like flowers.

As I walked further, a black speck on top the Hairy Grama caught my eye!

It was the tiniest robber fly I have ever seen! At only about 5mm, I was in AWE! I believe it is Hadrokolos texanus! This guy is 10 times smaller than green-eyed Robber Fly (Microstylum morosum) in the No place like home post. Go here to view a good photo of H. texanus. There is another tiny robber fly, but it more hairy. The hairy one is Holopogon snowi.

Not a terrific photo of the crab spider but I do not want to slight his tininess either. So much to stop and see in our natural world.

Unlocking the Secrets of ‘Invisible’ Animals

Keep looking!

The more you know, the more you see and the more you see, the more you know.


  1. I so agree about each time I walk outside I am in awe. I find amazement in so many things and most people never notice.
    The bee fly looks like stuffed toy teddy bear with all those hairs. The dew magnifying its eye is really cool.
    Love the crab spiders and the jumping spiders.

  2. This is an amazing post. I love the barrens Psora, it’s an old friend. I see another old friend, a Silphium albiflorum, keeping the Psoralea company. And what does the bee fly see through its dew-enhanced eyes? All its old friends too, I’m sure.

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