Friday, July 23, 2010

Splendid Country Sights

Summer is a splendid time to observe nature in all of it's glory. Peach, nectarine and cherry trees become laden with plump, sweet, juicy fruit, avian parents are busy tending to their hungry, demanding fledglings and flowering flora delights the eyes with colorful butterflies seeking nourishment.

Though our acreage out in the country is beautiful year-round, the summer season is especially magical. Below are several photos taken on our scenic property in southwest Indiana.

A radiant Great Spangled Fritillary alights on leafy forest groundcover

This handsome Eastern Phoebe perches conspicuously on a wire fence

An elegant Widow Skimmer Dragonfly clings to a blade of grass

A closer look at the delicate lacy wings

While checking on our peach trees, two small figures caught my eye ~ These frisky spotted White-tailed Deer fawns romped and played in the grassy field for a moment and then disappeared into the forest ~ This was one of those times when I wish I had my telephoto zoom lens attached to my camera ~ This shot was taken with a macro lens.

A Flower Longhorn Beetle finds this bright Wild Bergamont wildflower very appealing

A noisy Great Crested Flycatcher shows off its colorful plumage ~ An interesting note, this eastern flycatcher often uses shed snakeskins as lining for its nest

A colorful insect sporting tufts of black, orange and white setae, this Milkweed Tiger Moth Caterpillar was one of several feasting on the leaves of a Common Milkweed plant

This little Gray Tree Frog has become one of our favorite property pets ~ It has taken up residence in the spacious underside of our tilted bird bath basin ~ Quite a smart choice as it is fully protected from the wind, rain and scorching sun

Every time I clean out the bird bath I get a glimpse of our hopping friend ~ When I am finished cleaning the basin, I must be especially careful snapping the bowl gently back into place. This little creature has to be positioned JUST right in order not to be a flattened frog

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wonderful Wings!

Bird and insect wings come in a variety of interesting colors, patterns and sizes. Today I am featuring wonderful wings often seen on our property out in the country.

The exquisite wings of a Sandhill Crane in flight

A Pearl Crescent Butterfly shows off its beautifully patterned wings while delighting in White Yarrow blooms

The fine, intricate, lacy wings of a damselfly

The diminutive, delicate wings of an American Copper Butterfly (7/8 - 1 3/8 wingspan)

The transparent wings of a Toxomerus Hover Fly remind me of stained glass windows

During normal flight, this Ruby-throated Hummingbird can beat his tiny wings up to 80 times a second ~ When diving during courtship, this increases up to 200 times a second!

An Ailanthus Webworm Moth displays a very unique wing pattern

The striking wings of a Spicebush Swallowtail Butterfly

The patterned wings of Monarch Butterflies are always pleasing to the eye

Hard to believe this pudgy, striped fellow will be as graceful as the winged Monarch Butterfly prior

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Captivating Summer Colors

While driving around our neighborhood, I can't help but notice the many stunning, colorful gardens in our area. Recently, camera in hand, I set out on foot to take a closer look at these bountiful flower beds that brighten up our streets. Always aware of privacy, I made sure never to step foot on anyone's property, unless invited. All but two photos were taken standing on the sidewalk or street.

A magnificent Monarch samples beautiful yellow garden flowers

This breathtaking blue beauty is a Sea Holly (identification thanks to Debbie Miller)

A Silver-spotted Skipper peeks under a golden petal

The exquisite beauty of a Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly

This photo of a Red Admiral Butterfly is very special ~ While walking around with my camera, a smiling young girl and her friendly mother inquired as to what I was photographing ~ They graciously invited me into their lovely garden to photograph whatever I pleased ~ The kindness of strangers ~

A slightly tattered Great Spangled Fritillary and busy bee gather nourishment from pretty Purple Coneflowers

I was struck by the deep Persian red Japanese Maple leaves against clear Cerulean blue skies

A lovely Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly explores one of many stunning garden flowers

The vibrant center of a Purple Coneflower appeals to a hungry Red Admiral Butterfly ~ This photograph was also taken in the wondrous garden belonging to the kind neighbors

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Pollen Wallowers

Pollen is plentiful during the summer months. Bees, moths, butterflies, hummingbirds and some nectar feeding bats are several of nature's all-star pollinators. These winged transporters carry the protein-rich pollen grains from flower to flower as they feed. Plants benefit from the pollinators, as the transfer of the golden dust enables them to reproduce. In turn, the flowering plants provide sustenance for the pollinators and their offspring.
(I welcome identification corrections)

The wing underside of a Eastern Tiger Swallowtail is blanketed in pollen dust

A cheerful, bright Blanket Flower plays host to a satiated bee ~ Note the full pollen baskets on the hind legs of the bee ~ These sacs are for pollen storage

This Golden Northern Bumble Bee seems to have found the perfect flowering plant ~ A Honey Bee looks as if it is waiting its turn for a tasty treat

If you look closely you can see a few yellow pollen granules dotting the wing and thorax of this Missoni-like patterned Red Admiral Butterfly

Legs coated, pollen baskets full to bursting, this bee is earning its pay when it comes to assisting in plant reproduction

This Virescent Green Metallic Bee looks as if it has bathed in pollen powder

 A busy Golden Northern Bumble Bee collects pollen from Purple Coneflower florets

A beautiful Eastern Tiger Swallowtail sprinkled with pollen particles