Saturday, June 9, 2012

Friday FLowers Near Quincy, Part 2

This is a second set of photos from my front yard and the area around Oakland Camp.  On this blog and elsewhere I have referred to several flowers, especially daisies and milkweeds, as "bug magnets."  Every time I stop to check on a small patch of daisies, say groups of one or two dozen,  I find at least one interesting insect or spider, and usually more than one.  In fact, if I visit for more than five minutes, I almost always witness several different take-offs and landings, and some feeding activity - either feeding on the pollen and nectar of the flowers or feeding on each other.  So, when I see a whole field of daisies (top photo), it is almost unimaginable how much of such activity is going on.  I strongly recommend wandering among the daisies.  In one of yesterday's patches of daisies in my front yard and another near Oakland Camp, I started seeing butterflies landing so I broke out my longer lens. (2nd and 3rd photos)  Then I noticed bugs that don't fly so readily and reverted to my normal lens and got closer.  (4th photo)  Then I started paying attention to which bugs were landing on more than one species of flowers (Butterfly on Spreading Dogbane in the 5th photo).  I always came back to daisies (6th photo).  Soon, I found myself following bees, all kinds of bees, and got some nice photos of bees landing on their iconic partners, the Red Clover (7th photo).  Last, while crawling around on hands and knees, one eventually discovered Yellow Jackets.  In the cool of the morning, they are usually inactive so I could safely photograph them (8th photo), but I avoid disturbing bees and yellow jackets during hot afternoons.  Whenever I see type of Yellow Jacket shown here, I am reminded of Sylvia Long's great artwork in a Karuk tale called "Fire Race," retold by Jonathan London.  When it comes to nature illustration, this 1993 book is one of my all time favorites.  It's a good story, too, about how we got fire.

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