Category Archives: Wildlife

“Purple Pillar”

“Purple Pillar”

“The possession of knowledge does not kill the sense of wonder and mystery. There is always more mystery.” 
― Anaïs Nin

An unknown butterfly on an unknown flower. It really bothers me not to be able to identify the subject matter of my photos, but I can’t figure out what either is. The purple flowers grow in a small cluster in a single location. I’m wondering if it’s an escapee from somebody’s garden. Standing over a meter tall this plant has five leaves coming from a central node and beautiful stalks of purple flowers.

The butterfly may be a skipper, but I don’t recognise it from below but the head resembles a skipper.

It was, however, a brief opportunity to get a photo of the butterfly feeding on the flower, quickly composed and shot before the butterfly took off and the moment was gone, leaving me with a mystery to solve.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/80 sec, f/16.0 ISO 200

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“Busy Bee”

“Busy Bee”

“Everyone is busy, yet we all have access to the same amount of time.” 
― Chris Guillebeau

The prevalent activity around here lately is bees and blooms. It’s so nice to see bees after a few years where bees, particularly honeybees, seemed to be quite scarce around here. I returned to my patch of Canada Thistle and simply stood for a while, watching all the activity, including the numerous species of pollinators.

From small to large, plump to thin, the bees, wasps, and various flies were busy collecting the bounty of nectar these wildflowers had to offer. It was not till I spent a few minutes standing there, observing, that I noticed the sweet smell emanating from the thistles. It’s something I had as yet been unaware of. As the fragrance drifted around me it is no small wonder that so many insects were drawn to this large patch.

Of all the harvesters, this mid sized bee is the one that caught my eye. Most bees and wasps would land on a blossom and spend quite a while going to each individual component flowerette and collecting the nectar. This bee, on the other hand, flitted from blossom to blossom, spending mere seconds on each. It truly was a busy bee. The image above represents a split second where it slowed long enough for me to capture a sharp image of it.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/250 sec, f/8.0 ISO 200

High Resolution Image on 500px

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“Sharing in a Cinquefoil”

“Sharing in a Cinquefoil”

“What will remain is neither you nor me but what we shared among each other.” 
― Santosh Kalwar

Every now and then, an unexpected image just ‘happens’. Yesterday, as I went for a lunchtime walk to the meadow north of my house I came across these three hoverflies positioned perfectly on a cinquefoil blossom.

I could not have asked for a more cooperative group of insects, as they sat there, seemingly unbothered by the approach of me and my lense. As I leaned closer and closer to compose this shot, I fully expected one or all of them to fly away, leaving a nice blossom to photograph. It just worked out, all three remained in wonderful symmetry.

Shooting macro without a tripod is still proving an interesting exercise. Not only do I have to make sure I have a high enough shutter speed to negate even the tiniest movements, which can soften the image, but I also have  to contend with my own back and forth movement as I work within a fairly narrow depth of field. This one is a bit soft and would have been a sharper image, had I used my tripod, but the moment may have been lost, so I’m content with it.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/200 sec, f/16.0 ISO 200

High Resolution Image on 500px

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“Up Around the Bend”

“Up Around the Bend”

“You can ponder perpetual motion,
Fix your mind on a crystal day,
Always time for a good conversation,
There’s an ear for what you say

Come on the risin’ wind,
We’re goin’ up around the bend. “
– Creedence Clearwater Revival

As I considered this image, the words to the Creedance Clearwater Revival song came into my head and I could not shake them and thus, the title came to be.

It was simply chance that I looked over towards the goldenrod plant and noticed the ladybug as it made its way up the bent stem, here pausing at a leaf node, considering the best path to follow. I don’t imagine that it climbed the entire stalk, but rather, landed at some nearby point and began its short trek. Yet, this moment is subject to interpretation, is it not? We don’t know how far it has walked or when it will decide to fly off to the next plant. It remains a single moment to enjoy and ponder.

I had another surprise as I was editing the image. The day I made the image was one of those days of variable sun and cloud and when I look closely at the ladybug’s shell, I can see the sun and cloud reflecting on them. Something I had not noticed before.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/250 sec, f/8.0 ISO 200

for more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“Hover Fly and Canada Thistle”

“Hover Fly and Canada Thistle”

“Not everyone takes action to harvest the experiences of the seasons of life in order to enjoy their bounty.” 
― Andrea Goeglein

This image is quite similar to yesterday’s Bee and Thistle image, but the thistle here is white and the pollinator is a hover fly. I made the photo a few minutes after the bee image, and in a different patch of thistle. I was quite surprised to see white Canada Thistle and it’s the first time I have seen this variety in my many years of hiking.

This patch, as with the pale purple ones, was teeming with life, all anxiously drinking in the bounty of nectar. The hover flies seem ore partial to the neighbouring chicory but did not pass on the chance for a meal from the thistles as well.

Out of focus, in the background, the bright orange soldier beetle is only one of thousands partaking in the bounty as well. More to come from this hive of activity.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/320 sec, f/9.0 ISO 200

for more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“Bee and Thistle”

“Bee and Thistle”

“Mindfulness is not the path of chasing. It is the path of beautification. When flowers blossom, the fragrance spreads, and the bees come.” 
― Amit Ray

I stood among this patch of Canada Thistle, enjoying the activity of bees, bugs, and beetles, noting just how much activity there was. One could stand for only a few minutes and see the incredible diversity of life drawn to a single species of flower in bloom. As I stood and scanned over the thousands of tiny blossoms, I could not help but be amazed at just how important this colony of thistles really is.

To many, this weed field would be a wild and unkempt eyesore, were it not for the tiny purple flowers. The thistles stand over a meter tall, shaggy and thorn covered, yet they provide sweet, life sustaining nectar to a multitude of insects. It was also nice to see so many species of bees, from honey bees, to carpenters, and bumble bees, each busily gathering nectar and distributing pollen.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/250 sec, f/8.0 ISO 200

for more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“Ebony Jewelwing”

“Ebony Jewelwing”

A small black gem,
floating on gossamer wings.
Flitting and fluttering,
till the summer’s end.
– Ed Lehming

A member of the damselfly family, this ebony jewelwing floated from branch to branch around me for several minutes before finally settling on a leaf.

It required a slow and cautious approach to get within shooting range and I only managed a few shots before it took to the sky once more.

I really enjoy the way jewelwings float and flit, unlike dragonflies and their deliberate and rapid flight. The wings seem to be so pliable and ineffective but the random flight protects them from predators.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/100 sec, f/5.0 ISO 200

for more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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