Meet the Small Fry!

Tiny bumblebee on yarrow

Today was warm for us (89F), so the yard was full of sun-loving insects. When I took a turn about the yard, I photographed several of the critters so I could share them with you, starting with this little bumblebee.

Huge dragonfly sitting on roses

This dragonfly was absolutely enormous, sort of a jumbo jet among the regular-sized insects hanging out here.

Another photo of the huge dragonfly sitting on the roses

To give you some perspective: the cluster of roses this guy (gal?) is sitting on is about six inches across!

Red Dragonfly

When I looked among the zinnas and daylilies, I saw a spot of red zipping about. At first I thought it was a damselfly, but now that I can see it “up close” in the photograhs, I’m pretty sure it’s a dragonfly. It’s about a quarter of the size of the other dragonfly.

Red Dragonfly side shot

Here’s the same dragonfly, seen from the side.

Asian Lady Beetle

This little Asian (or Japanese) Lady Beetle was hiding in the yarrow. They’re a beneficial non-native insect that can become a nuisance in the fall when they gather by the thousands, looking for warm places to over-winter.

Soldier Beetle

The yarrow was also swarming with soldier beetles like this one. They’re related to fireflies, and are very beneficial beetles to have in your garden. These guys love to munch on aphids, grasshopper eggs and all sorts of bugs that are considered pests. (UPDATE: opps! That’s tansy, not yarrow!)

Blue Damselfly

This delicate little creature is a damselfly. Although it looks like a dragonfly, it’s a completely different critter. The end of the tail was a vivid blue, and its entire body shimmered.

There were many more beautiful insects that I just couldn’t get good images of, including several yellow Eastern tiger swallowtail butterflies that were absolutely gorgeous. The black tiger swallowtails were back, too – but instead of snapping photographs I spent my time convincing one to walk onto my hand.

Butterfly feet tickle!

“Bzzzzzzz…” or was that “Zzzzzz?”

Honkers Ahoy!

In one week, our temperatures have dropped from unseasonable highs to chiller-than-normal lows. We’ve had some heavy frosts, and the first of the tens of thousands of geese that will migrate through are flying overhead.

Sleepy Bee #1

Early in morning, the remaining blooms on our flowers are full of sleepy bumblebees, one to a flower.

Sleepy Bee #2

The bees have spent their night huddled inside the blossoms, caught far from their nests when dusk arrived the previous evening, and unable to fly safely home until the sun once again warms the chilled air.

Sleepy Bee #3

Winter is coming.

Late Bloomers

The geese are already starting to fly overhead, migrating south, and some of the flowers that only open in late autumn started blooming this week. Enjoy.

New England Aster

This blossom opened just this afternoon. It’s a New England Aster. The plant will have hundreds of blooms covering it for the next several weeks. Last year I found it sprouting in a bed of bee balm, brought in by bird or bunny from who knows where (from somewhere near Kris’s yard, perhaps? After all, it is a New England Aster!) and let it grow. Grow it has… right now it’s over 5 feet tall and three feet wide.

Cardinal Vine

I didn’t plant this cardinal vine either – my neighbor did, and I’m so glad he did. It’s happily grown up and through our fence, intertwining with the red runner beans that I had planted on my side of the fence. It’s been blooming off and on, but it seems to have really exploded with blossoms over the last few days.

Boltonia

These are boltonia, my favorite fall flower. The blossoms are scarcely an inch across, but each plant, like the New England Aster, is covered with hundreds of blooms. I have several plants against a fence, and they make a beautiful four-foot high hedge bursting with tiny white flowers that remain open from late September until well after the first frost.

Sedum with Bumblebee

I was chasing a bumblebee that was right next to the fence with my camera lens, trying to get a shot of its cute little fuzzy self, and it flew over the fence onto my neighbor Dan’s sedum and… well… I just had to take a photo. Isn’t that a gorgeous flower? The bumblebees love these flowers, too – they’ve been swarming Dan’s sedums all this week.

While I was taking these photos today, a hummingbird came and visited the zinnias. I wish I had a photo to show you, but its movements were much too quick to capture with my camera. We rarely see hummingbirds, but earlier this week, when I was out in the yard, a hummingbird zoomed in, ignored the flowers and instead thoroughly inspected me, its wings a blur against the jewel-toned emerald feathers that covered it. All the time it was barely inches away from me. He was so close I couldn’t even move my camera to take a snap of it, for fear of injuring the little fellow, or frightening it away. It was, hands down, one of the most amazing things I’ve ever experienced!