In the shade

Today was a First Wednesday in the shade! Indeed, five of us braved the morning, mostly in the shade. It really was not that bad, at least that was my opinion. 😉

We were at Black Creek Lake for this August First Wednesday. Inland Sea Oats (Chasmanthium latifolium) was appropriately growing on the bank. Its seed heads are not likely to be mistaken for anything else. Here it was in full sun, at least in the morning. More often it will be found in the shade along gullies and wetter areas.

Before we sat down, we took a short walk on a path in the shade, of course!

A couple of steps from our little shady sitting spot, these tiny ants were not letting the heat slow them down. If they were hot, they showed no signs of it. In fact, ants don’t sweat. Had you ever thought of this? One article (for a Sahara species Cataglyphis bombycina), said that “hairs” help to keep Sahara Silver ants cool. So what is our local ants strategy for staying cool? I could not find anything on the internet. So maybe they just cool off down in the nest.

Racing across the sandy loam, the velvet ant (Mutillidae) showed no signs of slowing down. It certainly was hard to keep up with her. Indeed, I do not recall ever seeing a slow velvet ant! I bet you knew that despite the name, the velvet ant is not an ant at all. It is a type wasp. Sometimes known as a cow killer because of its painful sting. On the Schmidt sting pain index, the velvet ant ranks a Pain Level 3. I have always been careful not to test that fact. LOL. Only the females are wingless.

A leafminer insect made this crazy path on the Greenbrier leaf! The vast majority of leafminers are moths and flies. (Tracks and Sign of Insects, Eieeman and Charney)

Additionally, while sitting, the Blue-gray Gnatcatchers were busy in the trees above. Then a pair of titmice came screaming by. Literally, one made a scream! I had not heard this before. I heard the Pileated Woodpecker. And the highlight bird for me, was a Black-and-white Warbler on the other side of the bank at the inlet where we were sitting. It was a wonderful morning sitting in the shade with friends!

Five Wild Ways Animals Beat the Summer Heat

Keep looking!

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


  1. It was a great morning. Thanks for the video of the ants. I can see them really well in video but not well then. Its a great video.

  2. It was really nice to get out of the tedium of just another hot summer day, to visit with friends and watch the world before the blistering heat of the day set in. Thanks

  3. Forgot to comment on the animals cooling article. The ants are really cool. Who would have thought. Seems like if they stayed underground, the ones that live underground, they would be cool. Thanks

    1. I talked with Diane about the ants cooling. She said in fact that is what our ants do, go underground and as far down as they can. Thanks Diane!

    1. It might have been a juvie, but couldn’t see it. When we could see, there was one that appeared to be begging.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.