08.08.2022 The night time is the right time

For making more wasps apparently.  Actually this was evening so not quite dark yet.

Thread-waisted Wasps-Ammophila sp.  These two were flying all over the boneset patch in tandem.

Here you get a good look at just how “thread-waisted” these wasps are.  I have married  friends who describe themselves as “attached at the hip”.  These two, well I don’t think I need to say more.

When I first saw them I thought it was just one huge wasp.  I had been seeing a rather large one and thought this was a similar species until I reviewed my first shot and saw the two heads.  I have seen other insects stay in their mating attachment before, damselflies and dragonflies in particular, but this seemed different.

Posted in Amherst, Closeup Photography, Insect Behavior, Insects, macro photography, Nature Photography, Western Massachusetts | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

08.08.2022 Macro Monday-Butterfly Fun

Well, limited fun.  Just the two.  I am seeing a few more visit the yard but most are on their way to an important meeting so don’t stop for more than a second in any one place. I’ve seen a small fritillary of some kind but it never settles down long enough to even ID it much less get a shot.

I had seen this Summer Azure-Celastrina neglecta along the driveway but it didn’t stop for a shot.  Fortunately it (assuming it’s the same individual) did stay put for a moment or two on the Boneset.  If you look closely you should be able to see the proboscis.  I had to dodge it a bit so it could be seen.

Just after that I saw this Peck’s Skipper-Polites peckius on some Miscanthus blades.

A sad story…the day before I had seen three of this skipper lined up on one of the Miscanthus blades but they all took off when I raised my camera. What a nice shot that would have been.  But seeing them was enjoyable and the experience is every bit as important as a photograph. Of course a photograph proves I didn’t make the story up.  🙂

Posted in Amherst, Butterflies, Closeup Photography, Insects, Nature Photography, Western Massachusetts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

08.07.2022 Dewy Damsel

Yesterday morning’s visit that found the gentians also offered a nice colorful damselfly.

Eastern Forktail- Ischnura verticalis -female

I was surprised that she could fly around, I watched her fly until she landed on the grass stalk, and not lose those water drops, especially the one balanced on the wing edge.

Posted in Closeup Photography, Insects, Nature Photography, Western Massachusetts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

08.07.2022 Silent Sunday

Closed or Meadow Bottle Gentian-Gentiana clausa

Posted in Central Massachusetts, Closeup Photography, Flora, Nature Photography, Western Massachusetts, Wildflowers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

08.06.2020 Who’s been eating my buttonbush?

Promethea Silkmoths is who.

After shooting the Swamp Spreadwing at Gauco Pond I went to Branch Bridge Road hoping for dragons or damsels.  But all I got was this chance to photograph Promethea Silkworm moth larvae-Callosamia promethea. This first was a little soft but I was able to reposition and get a more parallel composition of a second imdividual.

And finally a little Buttonbush chomping closeup.

All with the 5D Mark IV, 180 Macro + 2.0 doubler upon a tripod. Most of the images I saw on BugGuide showed cats with orange or red festooning at the rear so I am guessing these are late but not last instars.

Oh. The Common Buttonbush-Cephalanthus occidentalis are maturing and the flowerheads are becoming an attractive burned color.


Posted in Closeup Photography, Flora, Insects, Lepidoptera, Nature Photography, Western Massachusetts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

08.06.2022 More or Lestes

I posted a Swamp Spreadwing a few weeks ago or so.  I try to share different subjects, with the exception of bullfrogs, but like how this one came out so adding it to my WordPress media library.

Swamp Spreadwing-Lestes vigilax-male.  No idea why the abdomen is slightly bent.  Maybe a mating accident…I hate when that happens.

Posted in Central Massachusetts, Closeup Photography, Insects, Western Massachusetts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

08.05.2022 Happy Frog Friday

Prior to finding the Green Herons this past Monday, I came across several bullfrogs enjoying Poor Farm Swamp’s quiet morning.  This little guy was the first.  Others to follow on future FFs….or sooner.

My first attempt of the morning.  I was a little hesitant to wander more to the left but eventually found some relatively solid ground and got a bit more face forward view.

This must be a fairly young male as he has hardly a mark on him and was not very large either.

5D Mark IV, Tamron 100-400 plus 2.0 teleconverter, Circular Polarizer, upon tripod.

Posted in Amherst, Nature Photography, Western Massachusetts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

08.04.2022 If You Like Hover Flies

It’s almost 100° in the shade this afternoon but I try to get out in the yard every day and insects are quite active in the hot sun.  I saw a lot of cool wasps and when I wandered into the woods to check out the Boneset in there I saw this.

Wavy Mudsucker-Orthonevra nitida, a Syrphid Fly.  Look at them peepers! iNaturalist lists its common name but BugGuide seems to only recognize the Latin.  7D Mark II, 100 macro Mark II, MT26EX twin flash.

This is not a big guy as you might tell from the Boneset leaf texture. I used Lightroom’s Enhance feature to increase the file size so I could crop it large enough for the details to show. The Lightroom masking allowed me to separate the fly a little bit more out from the leaf.  The second half of the binomial means “shining” which the flash enhanced. I love Hover Flies and this guy really stands out among them.

Posted in Amherst, Closeup Photography, Insects, macro photography, Nature Photography, Western Massachusetts | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

08.04.2022 Turtle Thursday

Eastern Painted Turtle-Chrysemys picta, female. Females have shorter front nails.  A male’s are noticeably longer.

While shooting at Moosehorn Pond this past Sunday, I had hoped to photograph a turtle.  No luck and it was getting late so I packed up and started home.  But as I neared the end of the pond there it was and I had to stop, of course.

Posted in Animal Behavior, Nature Photography, Western Massachusetts | Tagged , , , , , , | 13 Comments

08.03.2022 Wasp Wednesday

Two Ichneumonid wasps from the yard.

Great Golden Digger Wasp-Sphex ichneumoneus.  The digger moniker comes from their habit of nesting in the ground and laying an egg in each cell then leaving an orthopteran (grasshopper, locust, katydid, etc) in there for the larva to feed upon. One way we avoid having a plague of locusts, I guess.

Another Ichneumonid wasp-Trogus pennator. This species rears its young by parasitizing the larvae of various swallowtail butterflies.  Hopefully none of the offspring of the ones I shared yesterday.

Look at those beautiful eyes!  The three in the center are the Ocelli, simple eyes as compared to the larger compound eyes. Compound eyes resolve detail while the Ocelli sense light and movement.

Posted in Amherst, Closeup Photography, Insect Behavior, Insects, Nature Photography, Western Massachusetts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments