Ground Tyrants are not the most illuminating bird family on the plant. They are a bit like washed out Wheatears. We were chasing a few in the Yeso Valley in Chile last month. Kneeling down to take a photograph with a better perspective something crawling amid the rocks and vegetation to my right caught my eye.
It was a glimpse of something jewel like; bright and full of colour. The same flash as a good cut diamond in full sun; but more vibrant. I ignored the bird and watched the rocks. There it was again. I shuffled over for a better look… woo! A turquoise and brown insect about two inches long scuttled towards me. ****. I quickly stood up.
It looked wasp like. It had an obvious stinger on it so I decided to keep clear but it was truly beautiful and iridescent with colour as well as quite daunting. Between it’s quick runs between boulders I ran off a few frames. I returned my attention to the Ground Tyrants.
It was only this week after a little research I found out what it was. A Pepsis Wasp. The insect with the second most painful sting in the world; second only to the Bullet Ant. Now, if that wasn’t a good enough reason to not be sharing crawling space on the valley floor you need to hear its alternative name. Tarantula Hawks are a vicious predator of … yes, you guessed it … Tarantulas. So that’s what it was looking for under those rocks and boulders. Gulp.