On closer inspection…

The Winged Loosestrife’s (Lythrum alatum) vibrant color stood out on the cliff’s wall across from our descending path to Wild Cat Canyon in Starved Rock State Park. Only later when I was home and reviewing these images did I realize the plant was a resting spot for this winged insect. Such is the joy of photography. My eyes often miss seeing all the subjects in my compositions. Sometimes what I capture is distracting to my desired focus (unwanted elements in the background). This added subject was a wonderful surprise.

My initial thought was that this insect was a dragonfly or damselfly. But those insects have two pairs of wings. I am guessing that this is some variety of Crane Fly (Tipula) instead. The other joy of nature photography is that I am always learning!

I zoomed in to get the original picture (bottom image) and found a new and more interesting composition when I zoomed in still closer (first image).

Posing nicely for my picture. Copyright 2017 Pamela Breitberg

I spo

Longer view of this Loosestrife and Crane Fly scene, to show more of the habitat. Copyright 2017 Pamela Breitberg

tted

 

Natural harmony…

Mexican Sunflower is joined by the similarly colored Long wing butterfly. Copyright 2017 Pamela Breitberg

Brilliant blooming colors in abundance successfully camouflaged a multitude of tropical butterflies. Butterfly World in Florida’s Coconut Creek is all that the name implies plus more. It could just as aptly be named Butterfly, Bird and Bloom World. The Piano Key or a related “long wing” (Heliconius Melpomene or Heliconius Erato) butterfly here has lighted on a Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia diversifolia). These two butterfly species often crossbreed, so I am unsure of this one’s specific identity.

For more information check out:

  • Butterfly Jungle’s blog: http://thebutterflyjungle.blogspot.com/2011/07/piano-key-butterfly.html
  • Butterfly World: http://butterflyworld.com

Butterfly World in action. Copyright 2017 Pamela Breitberg

 

Something to celebrate…

Enjoying my resumption of photography, capturing flowers and the tiny things found with them. No details today, other than to share these were captured in Chicago’s Lincoln Park.

Jerusalem Artichoke, copyright 2016, Pamela Breitberg

Monarch Butterfly, copyright 2016 Pamela Breitberg

Spider on Jerusalem Artichoke, copyright 2016, Pamela Breitberg

After the monarchs…


Seeds bursting from pod with Milkweed Bugs. Copyright 2015, Pamela Breitberg

Seeds bursting from pod with Milkweed Bugs. Copyright 2015, Pamela Breitberg

Common Milkweed pod full of MIlkweed Bugs. Copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

Common Milkweed pod full of MIlkweed Bugs. Copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

Common Milkweed acting as host of Milkweed Bugs. Copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

Common Milkweed acting as host of Milkweed Bugs. Copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

Common Milkweed (asclepias syriaca) is the chosen food of Monarch butterflies. Eggs are laid on the plant and larva feast on the leaves. Much has been reported on the loss of habitat for Monarchs including this Milkweed, not to be confused with the orange blooming Butterfly Milkweed (asclepias tuberosa). Loss of habitat has led to dramatically reduced populations of these wonderful creatures.

This Common Milkweed plant attracted me with its delicate fluffy seeds that had recently burst out of several pods. They always remind me of one segment of the Disney movie, Fantasia. As I focused on the seeds, I noticed a few brightly colored Milkweed Bugs. Several moments later, I realized the “brown” pod above the seeds was actually a community of Milkweed Bugs on one pod. The Milkweed Butterfly has left this northern area and begun its 3000-mile migration to Mexico, while the Milkweed Bug enjoys the remaining spoils of this host plant.

A closer look at the overlooked…

Diabrotica cristata on Big Bluestem Grass  copyright 2013 Pamela Breitberg

Diabrotica cristata on Big Bluestem Grass copyright 2013 Pamela Breitberg

Stick with me as I focus on the macro world a little longer, the Black Leaf Beetle (Diabrotica cristata) is not partial to Compass Plant flowers. It turns out that the prairie’s Big Bluestem grasses are food for larva; while adults prefer forbs (broadleaf herbaceous plant (ie. not a grass) such as the Compass Plant but also Blazing Star and non-native Queen Anne’s Lace.

What at first may creep out visitors, myself included, who take pride in a bug free home, the prairie Insects are very prolific to ensure their continued survival. This in turn helps to ensure the survival of their avian (primary) predators. I admit that I check myself more than twice before entering my home, so that I don’t introduce prolific breeding uninvited guests to my habitat. It is rare that I have to uninvited a tag-a-long, much to my continued surprise. I suppose they are wiser than I imagine in their choice of contact. Pollen however I do have to regularly remove from this asthmatic allergic body.   

Infested Compass Plant copyright 2013 Pamela Breitberg

Infested Compass Plant copyright 2013 Pamela Breitberg

Queen Anne Lace copyright 2013 Pamela Breitberg

Queen Anne Lace copyright 2013 Pamela Breitberg


Blazing Star copyright 2013 Pamela Breitberg

Blazing Star copyright 2013 Pamela Breitberg

Distracted from the pretty…

Cransebill copyright 2013 Pamela Breitberg

Cransebill copyright 2013 Pamela Breitberg

The story changes when the focus changes. Sometimes the bigger story is in the background. Sometimes the story is revealed when the camera focuses differently than the photographer’s intention; this time the camera showed me a more interesting subject than the Cranesbill flower. It caught the hole-makers in the act.

Insect Hosting Cranesbill copyright 2013 Pamela Bretiberg

Insect Hosting Cranesbill copyright 2013 Pamela Bretiberg