08.22.2014 When is a butterfly not a butterfly?…and I don’t mean moths.

If you are a lepidopterist (or wish you were one) then you know I am talking about Skippers.  Quite similar to butterflies, the main differences are a more stout body, not as slim as a typical butterfly, and having a bit of a hook on the tip of the antenna club.  They are also fairly small and tend to flit about more quickly and often than a larger butterfly.

I’ve had Tawny-edged Skippers (Polites themistocles) visit the yard a few times that I have witnessed and no doubt many times that I have not.  And, keeping with an ongoing theme on this blog, here is a shot of one on, of all things, boneset.Tawny-edged-Skipper-072613-600WebQuite the little poser.  As you can see, they also have fairly large eyes per body size.

If you like more color in your Skipper images, here is another Tawny-edged on goldenrod from a few years back.

Tomorrow is forecast to start a bit drippy, but I hope to have a productive few days.  Have a great weekend, everyone!  :-)

Posted in Butterflies, Closeup Photography, Insect Behavior, Insects, Lepidoptera, macro photography, Nature Photography, Western Massachusetts | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

08.21.2014 Bee-utiful

Just a quickie from last night.

As the temperature drops toward evening, I often see bumble bees settling in under the boneset blooms to spend the night. They are hidden from predators, but not photographers.  I took advantage of the easy pickin’s and have these two images to share.  Nothing spectacular, just a good look at its fuzzy self. :-) Bee-on-Boneset-2-082014-600Web


Posted in Closeup Photography, Insect Behavior, Insects, Nature Photography | Tagged , , | 22 Comments

08.19.2014It’s hard to believe, but this is the face of abuse

We adopted Murphy through a great rescue agency, Bones (Beagles of New England States).  We found out about them through some neighbors and we are thrilled that we were able to help provide Murphy with a loving home.  It is so hard to look at him and imagine that anyone would raise their hand in anger and abuse to such a sweet face.  As a result of that early mistreatment, he does have a few issues, the most problematic of all being his mistrust of other humans which means we rarely have guests because of his aggressive and protective behavior.  As he ages , we have finally convinced him that humans visiting us provide him with treats and he is more receptive….as long as the treats keep coming. :-) He’s been with us for over 10 years now and, with us, is the sweetest and best behaved pup we could ever hope for.Murphy-081814-600WebI mentioned in a comment on the previous post that I would post some beaver images.  My bad…I already did twice, so here is a link for anyone who wants to see them.


Posted in Uncategorized | 18 Comments

08.16.2014 A close encounter of the Beaver kind (Monochrome Sunrise at Harvard Pond)

As the title implies, I am torn between the proper title for this post.

The obvious is the image of sunrise at Harvard Pond. However, while I was waiting for the sun to clear the distant trees, I noticed a beaver swimming nearby, nibbling on some pond lily pads and seemingly unconcerned with my presence.  He/she definitely knew I was there but just swam around doing the beaver paddle and continuing with breakfast…..no tail slaps for protest.  I was there for the sunrise and thought that, should I abandon that and run for my 300, the beaver would not be comfortable and might leave for another buffet so I stayed put with the wide angle in place and no picture..  Well, no need for concern.  This one apparently is unafraid and proceeded to swim right up to my position on the shore, an obvious beaver trail into the woods, and settled down directly in front of me.  Our eyes met, I spoke quiet nothings and time stood still……for about 10 seconds.  I offered to clear the path, but he/she just turned and went back to the lily pads and eventually some distant reeds.  Seconds later, the sun made its appearance.


Posted in Black and White, Landscape, Nature Photography, Water, Western Massachusetts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

08.14.2014 Back to the buggies

Here are a few shots of Bugs and Friends from the backyard.

Cocklebur Weevil (Rhodobaenus quinquepunctatus) on a Boneset leafCocklebur WeevilBuffalo Treehopper (Ceresa taurina) on a grass stalkBuffalo-Treehopper-900WebAn Assassin Bug nymph on BonesetAssassin-Bug-nymph-081312-800FBAnd what has been suggested is a Ornate Snipe Fly (Chrysopilus ornatus) on a DaisyFly-on-Daisy-060314-800WebAnd the aforementioned Bugs and Friends  :-)   :-)jamesk_folks_06539Have a nice day/evening everyone.

Posted in Closeup Photography, Insects, Nature Photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

08.11.2014 Full Sturgeon Moon

Doesn’t that sound much better than “SUPERMOON”!  Kind of like NFL Championship sounds so much more sane than “Super Bowl”.  Anyway, I am not a fisher person ,  :-) so the significance is just in the name for me.

Last month I made a few mistakes in my use of The Photographer’s Ephemeris which caused me to miss my target……the Quabbin Tower as seen from the end of Old Enfield Road, Gate 5 in Belchertown, in silhouette with the full moon.   Yesterday I did a little better.  Still not the silhouette I visualized, but it would have been pretty difficult for me to reach the spot needed.   Maybe another time things will line up better, but I am pretty happy with these.

When I arrived, there were clouds along the hill top and I was worried they would not recede in time.  But they did and the moon rose splendidly just to the left of the tower.Full-Moon-and-Quabbin-Tower-081014-600WebA little wander down shore and a short time to rise gave me this second with the nice deep blue of the night sky.

Full-Moon-and-Quabbin-Tower-2-081014-600WebI had hoped to be able to add a shot from this morning, but there was only a glimpse before the fog rose from the ground and hid all.  We are possibly receiving some showers this evening, so whether the weather allows for more later is up in the air.

Posted in Landscape, Nature Photography, Quabbin, Western Massachusetts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

08.10.2014 Black-eyed Susan

Well, it looks as if yesterday’s post fell on its face.  I hope you like this one a little better. :-)

The other day, Steve Schwartzman suggested that I share some Black-eyed Susan images in the comments on his post of the same subject.   In searching my library on WP, I was surprised that I have not shared any until now.  So here is a collection of a few images of Rudbeckia hirta.

Earlier this summer, as the buds were making their appearance, I found this dewy plant in the Brickyard Conservation Area.


Although not the same plant, this is also from Brickyard.


As is this.  In that exchange of comments, the subject of a bit of a purple tone sometimes found on the cone containing the disk flowers was mentioned and it is evident in this image.

Black-eyed-Susan-071412-1000FBAnd finally…..the disk florets finding a new purpose.

Synchlora-Moth-caterpillar-072709-2That is a Wavy-lined Emerald moth larva (Synchlora aerata) from a plant in my front yard a few years back. They, and others, gather up debris to disguise themselves from predators and photographers.

I had thought my post for today would be of this morning’s setting full moon.  But our milky sky prevented that.  I hope to fare better tonight and have something to share from that and tomorrow morning and evening as well.

Posted in Closeup Photography, Flora, Lepidoptera, Nature Photography, Western Massachusetts, Wildflowers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments