Looking back to the more colorful days of late summer, early autumn.
Here are a few different views of downtown Chicago, this time from South Pond in Lincoln Park. The naturalized prairie grasses are prominent in the scene. After a leisurely walk through the park we lunched at the delicious Café Brauer; this time dining was a bit of a challenge. This time of year, worker bees are instinctively anxious to gather as much energy (sugar/nectar) and protein (pollen) as possible to store for the coming winter months. So, as my eyes admired the sweet view from our table, they were eyeing my lunch. And typical of me, I watched with love and allowed them to feast in between my bites and sips.
Warning: If you aren’t fond of bees then don’t look at last two images!
For more on bee behavior during the autumn:
The Butterfly World in Coconut Creek Florida seems like a world to itself. Today I am sharing a few images from last winter’s visit. They reopened today: https://www.butterflyworld.com/hurricane-closure-and-preparation/, and will release the butterflies and finches back into their outdoor habitats. There was no damage to the facilities by Irma.
While we walked through Starved Rock State Park we came across this oh, so cute caterpillar. It was moving rapidly down the length of a rail making it a challenge to photograph. This is when I’m grateful for digital imagery; I can take multiple images in hopes of a few “good” ones and the cost is no obstacle as it was in the days of using film.
Fortunately, I did not choose to hold this fuzzy fellow. It was the larva of the American Dagger Moth (Acronicta americana). If I’d known the name I would have thought twice about its cuddly appearance. The decorative black spikes are its defense containing a poisonous liquid that quickly causes irritation and swelling when it touches one’s skin. So, if you see this fellow, look but don’t touch!
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).
The color and the scent attracts Bees: Bee Balm is a chosen nectar. People find Wild Bergamot tea soothing as well. By any name they are an American favorite. This native perennial has been used by insects, Native Americans and European settlers for centuries. I enjoy it’s unique flower design.