With a backlog of bog orchids and other wildflowers from Laudholm Farms this week, I was certainly not thinking about Wood Lilies when I took an ebike photoprowl out to the back side of the Kennebunk Plains yesterday. I was thinking of skies and landscapes, but as soon as I turned down the fire road that goes to the back of Day Brook Pond, I found the Plain covered with one of the most impressive displays of Wood Lilies that I have seen. I have never photographed Wood Lilies on that side of the pond…I always find them on either side of Rt. 99 where it crosses the Plains on the other side, so maybe this is a typical display for the area off Maguire Road, and I have just missed it all these years. Lots of lilies and lots of tall lilies, and many clumps of lilies. Checking last year’s photos of Wood Lilies, my first shots are from July 16th, on the other side of the pond, so the timing is right…I was just not expecting to see them yet. Nice surprise. So now I have a lot of Wood Lily images on top of my Grass Pink and Rose Pagonia orchid images from earlier in the week. Such abundance…but that is July in Maine for you! If you are into wildflowers, at least.
On this image of a double blossom, you will see, if you look closely, that there is a tiny Green Metallic Bee in flight above the lower flower. The Green Metallic Bees were all over the Wood Lilies, and I have to suspect that they are a major pollinator, at least out on the Kennebunk Plains.
Sony RX10iv at 326mm equivalent. Macro mode (in Scene Modes). Processed in Polarr.
Oh yes, I am going to inflict another Grass Pink Orchid from the bog at Laudholm Farms on you this morning…this one with a visitor. The visitor is, I think, one of the Hover Flies. The wiki on Grass Pink Orchids, which I will warn you has no supporting citations, says, among other things, that the Grass Pink Orchid is all show and no go when it comes to insect pollinators. It makes no nectar and very little pollen to attract insects. It just looks good, and those little yellow/white filaments are obviously insect bait. It is often found in association with other pink flowers that do reward pollinators, and therefore might get a free ride. The wiki also says that the flower “snaps shut” around the insect, forcing it to crawl out between the reproductive parts and hopefully pollinate the flower. I will admit I have never seen that happen, and the flower showed no signs of snapping shut on this hover fly…so, unless confirmed by someone who knows better, I am somewhat doubtful of the snapping shut bit. In looking back through my photos I do see some blossoms folded in on themselves, but I have always assumed they were just opening…not that they had bugs trapped inside. Who knows? (No really, if you know, let me know!). Sony RX10iv at 600mm optical with enough Clear Image Zoom to fill the frame. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr.
I apologize in advance, but you are probably going to have to endure several days of Grass Pink Orchid posts (with maybe a few Rose Pagonias thrown in. 🙂 I rode down to Laudholm Farms yesterday, on a somewhat foggy, misty morning, as a front came through bringing rain, to see if the Orchids were in bloom in the little remnant bog they have preserved in the lower fields at Laudholm. They were…both Rose Pagonia and Grass Pink. And, I have not seen a bloom like this year’s in all the years I have been watching this little bog. There were many clusters of both orchids…half a dozen to a cluster…and the total number of blooming plants had to be above 50…and that is just what I could easily see from the boardwalk. Last year I found only a few Rose Pagonias and only 2 Grass Pinks. What a difference a year can make. The Grass Pinks were fresh, so very purple pink, and the subdued light helped to bring out the intensity of the color. I probably said this last year (and maybe the year before) but they really need to come up with a better name for this orchid than “Grass Pink.” The Greek generic name is “Beautiful Beard”, but this is not, upon reflection, much better. It is, I think, one of the most beautiful bog orchids I have seen. It is also relatively unique in the orchid world because the stem twists to present the flower upside down, with the tongue at the top. There is more of interest here…but I don’t want to tell you everything today, as I have more pics for tomorrow. 🙂 Sony RX10iv at 600mm optical equivalent with enough Clear Image Zoom to fill the frame. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr.
My wife Carol came into the bedroom where I was writing and said there was a dragonfly on our back deck near the bird feeders. It had, of course, moved by the time I got my camera and got there, but it was still sitting on the bow of one of the feeder poles. I got a few shots before a Woodpecker came and scared it off for good. This is a Painted Skimmer, one of the most abundant dragons on the wing right now in Southern Maine. Sometimes they come to you 🙂 Sony RX10iv at 600mm optical equivalent, plus 2x Clear Image Zoom. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr.
Rugosa Rose, or Beach Rose, grows on the backsides of our ocean dunes and long access roads all along the coast. I see as hedges in people’s yards within a mile or so of the sea as well. It is not native. It comes from the coastal areas of Northern China, Korea, and Japan, and was introduced in Connecticut and on Nantucket Island in the 1840s. From there it as spread all up and down the New England coast.
This is an ultra wide close up, taken with an 18mm equivalent lens on the Sony a5100 from about 8 inches. I like the ultra wide perspective on the occasional close up. Program mode. Landscape Creative Style with -1 Saturation. Processed in Polarr.
As part of our photoprowl when my friend Stef visited last week, we went to East Point in Biddeford Pool. There were stands of Daisy on the brink of the headland above the rocky shore, probably Oxeye, an invasive plant along our coast, and there were many Pearly Crescent Butterflies working the flowers. Sony RX10iv at 1200mm equivalent (600 optical plus 2x Clear Image Zoom). Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr.
We had a long cold spring in southern Maine this year, and most dragon and damselflies are late arriving or late flying, but here in the first weeks of July, we are finally seeing some action. These dragons were all at the drainage pond at Southern Maine Medical Center in Kennebunk yesterday. Unicorn Clubtail, Twelve Spotted Skimmer, female Eastern Pondhawk, and Blue Dasher. All but the Unicorn will be abundant at the area ponds for the next month or more, but it is good to see them flying. Sony RX10iv at 600mm optical equivalent, plus enough Clear Image Zoom to fill the frame. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr.
“If your eye is generous, your whole being is full of light!” Jesus
There are two species of Clearwing Moth commonly seen in Maine…the Hummingbird Clearwing and the Snowberry Clearwing. This one is, I think, the Hummingbird Clearwing. Both of them might be mistaken for tiny hummingbirds as they hover around flowers feeding with their long proboscis, but they do have, as the name suggests, transparent wings. Unlike most other moths, they are mostly active in daylight. Still, they are small, fast moving, and not all that common. I can count the times I have seen them in Maine on the fingers of one hand. This is only the third one I have managed to photograph. The fact that it is on the Saco Heath and feeding on a nice stand of Sheep’s Laurel, one of our more beautiful flowing bushes here in Southern Maine, only adds to the blessing.
And I am triply blessed in that I got to see and photograph the Clearwing with a friend. Though I met and know him mostly through Facebook, my friend Stef lives an hour and a half west of me. He is the kind of friend who makes an effort…several times over the past few years he has driven up to spend the day exploring my favorite local spots for photoprowls. I generally take him out to eat since he does make the effort…drives, pays for the gas, etc. He also joined my group on the Point and Shoot Nature Photographer adventure in Costa Rica last December. He is politically active on the local scene, so over lunch and in the car between walks, we generally discus the state of the nation and the future of the world. Friends like that, who make the effort, are as rare as Hummingbird Clearwing Moths, and just as special.
We have never discussed religion (or more accurately, to my mind, faith) but there is a sense in which I am certain Stef and I share the same spirit. It is, of course, part of my creed…part of what I believe, based on my experience of life and God and everything…that we all share the same spirit…that we are all equally children of the loving creator, alive with the spirit that some of us identify with Jesus. It is part of seeing with the generous eye…a gift and a responsibility of faith. I have to make the most effort to remember that when discussing politics in today’s world, (some of those people, honestly!) but I don’t have to work hard at remembering it with Stef. It is a clear as a Clearwinged Moth in the Sheep Laurel on Saco Heath.
What can I be but deeply thankful? Happy Sunday! (And this goes for my few other friends who make the effort too…you know who you are!)
While visiting Saco Heath last week with my friend Stef, we were treated to this Tiger Swallowtail feeding on the Sheep Laurel next to the Atlantic Cedar grove at the end of the boardwalk. I am still not sure how to distinguish Canada from Eastern, though the Colby College butterfly list has Eastern only as a “Rare Stray” in Maine. The safe bet then is Canada Tiger Swallowtail. The real zone of overlap seems to be in Northern Massachusetts…which is not so far south of us as the crow flies. 🙂 Sony RX10iv at 600mm optical and 2x Clear Image Zoom for 1200mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr.
More dragonflies from Day Brook Pond on the Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area here in Southern Maine. Slaty Skimmer, a well worn Chalk-fronted Corporal, Frosted Whiteface, and Spangled Skimmer. Sony RX10iv at 600mm optical plus enough Clear Image Zoom to fill the frame. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr.