This Canada Violet was growing along a hiking trail in Shenandoah National Park when I was there last May.
Tag Archives: wildflowers
This daisy fleabane was blooming along a hiking trail in Shenandoah National Park at the end of May.
Knowing “bane” loosely means something that is hated by or makes something’s existence more difficult, I thought fleabane was an interesting name for a wildflower so I looked it up. Folklore has it these plants can be dried and used to keep fleas away. That explains the name.
The bees in Shenandoah National Park were busy pollinating blackberry blossoms growing along the Dark Hollow Falls trail when I was last there.
This family of aphids watches helplessly as one of their clan is ruthlessly devoured by their arch enemy, the ladybird beetle (aka ladybug). When you look at a ladybug it’s easy to forget they are savage predators.
Here’s another wasp I’m not quite sure I correctly identified. I believe it is a Spider Wasp. Regardless, it was one of the pollinators that shared their meadow with me in early September. Like other wasps and bees I’ve photographed, this one didn’t seem to pay any attention to my presence. Perhaps because I was sitting still and it approached me rather than the other way around.
From what I’ve read Spider Wasps can be aggressive and have quite a painful sting. I guess it’s a good thing it didn’t mind me being there.
During a photo outing to shoot wildflowers I decided to take a few backlit shots. In the process I began tracking a few Eastern Carpenter Bees as they passed by. I was lucky enough to capture this one as it prepared to land on a thin-leaved sunflower.
I like the way backlit flowers almost glow but that’s pretty easy to predict, setup and shoot. After all, except for the wind, the flowers aren’t really moving. I was really pleased with the lighting of the bee in this photo.
Like most of the photos on my blog, you can click the image to open a larger version of the photo. Check out all the pollen covering this bee. This clearly wasn’t its first flower of the day.
The Eastern Carpenter Bee is easily confused with the American Bumble Bee. While the bumble bee is covered covered in fuzzy hair, the carpenter bee is missing the fuzz from its abdomen.
At first I thought the beetle on this thin-leaved sunflower was a soldier beetle but something didn’t look quite right. Looking more closely I’ve identified it as a Pennsylvania Leatherwing Beetle. According to insectidentification.org, the Pennsylvania Leatherwing Beetle is highly beneficial in their predation of aphids. As a bonus, their quest for insect prey turns them into efficient pollinators.
I had a little trouble identifying this species of wasp but I believe it is a paper wasp. In my experience they are not aggressive unless you disturb their nests. In this case I was photographing wildflowers when the wasp approached to gather nectar. I sat still, watched and photographed it and the wasp didn’t even seem to notice me.