Sunday, July 26, 2020

Insects Close Up

The hot days of July are great for photographing insects. This bumble bee seems to be posing on the aster blossom, doesn't it?
I like to get close enough to imagine being enfolded in the pastel landscape of the flower, to be in the insect's world.  Click to enlarge.
See how the stamens seem to float in the center of this red daylily?
When a green sweat bee lands ...
It can look surreal.
Sometimes a photo reveals a lurking arthropod surprise. I was taking pictures of wild rose pagonia orchids like this one in the New Jersey pine barrens.
I was about to delete this shot because it's not sharply focused when I noticed that yellow blip on the petal.
Zoom surprise! The yellow blip is a crab spider.
And surprise within surprise! The spider is holding a tiny captured insect.
Uncomfortable weather for us out there right now. Good times for the insects.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Snowy Egrets

A snowy egret coming in for a landing.
Dramatic in flight. Click to enlarge.
Elegant at rest with stylish spikey breeding plumage.
Note the black bill, yellow face, yellow feet, and snow white feathers.
There are snowy egrets and lots of other birds right now at Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in Oceanville in Galloway Township, New Jersey. Here's a picture of the wide open spaces from the 8-mile one-way wildlife drive that loops through the refuge.
BUT... this is the season of the green head fly and they seem to be very hungry. As we went slowly bird-watching along the refuge road, flies followed the car and threw themselves against the glass, hoping to break in and feast on mammals. It was just a little bit like a horror film. But we stayed calm, stayed inside, and took photos like this one through the closed windows.

Sunday, July 12, 2020


I've been hunting for, and finding, carnivorous sundew plants in the New Jersey pine barrens. Three kinds grow there: spoonleaf, roundleaf, and threadleaf. The common names tell you the shapes to look for. All of them are covered with sticky tentacles that secrete mucilage that is attractive and deadly to insects. Click to enlarge this spoonleaf, also called oblong- or spatulate-leaved sundew, Drosera intermedia.
There are spoonleaf sundews growing all over this floating log. If an insects lands on one it will get trapped and digested and its nutrients will be absorbed.
The threadleaf sundew, Drosera filiformis, is slender and lovely.
And it has tiny delicate flowers that are open right now.
The one I have most trouble finding is the roundleaf sundew,
Drosera rotundifolia. It's small and low to the ground and blends in remarkably well for a bright red glittering thing. This whole plant is about two inches across.
Look for sundews in places like this.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Happy Fourth of July!

A holiday meal of grapes for the red cardinal. He took every one of them home.
An elegant egret, white and sleek. Click to enlarge.
And a blue jay. (There's a color coded message here.)
Remember when the Grinch stole Christmas but it came anyway? Happy Fourth of July!