It is Jewelweed season in Southern Maine. I found these growing along the Eastern Trail in Arundel yesterday, but there is generally a bunch of them in the ditch along Brown Street, just down from my house. I have not looked the past few days. Jewelweed is called “touch-me-not”…not because it is toxic to the skin, but because it has exploding seed-pods…in fact it is used in a soothing salve for skin irritations, including poison ivy. It is a member of the Impatience’s family, as you might guess from the shape of the flower. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm (tel-macro). Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
Besides being Eastern Amberwing season at Roger’s Pond Park here in Kennebunk, Maine (see yesterday’s post), it is also Water Lily season. The pond has both white and pink lilies. This is an HDR shot, processed in Polarr and Apple Photos for the best balance of light and shadow. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Nominal exposure ISO 125 @ f4 @ 1/500th. -1EV. (I say nominal since the camera took three exposures and combined them into this one HDR.)
We have been having one of our southern Maine spells of hot summer weather and I have not, honestly, been inspired to push through the heat to do much photography. It is all I can do to get my exercise bike ride in. 🙂 I was determined to get out yesterday and, as I got my camera ready and got myself on the bike, I was thinking that a dragonfly or a butterfly on Blazing Star would make the trip worth-while, and was perhaps a reasonable expectation out on the Kennebunk Plains these early days of August. The Blazing Star was not as far along as I had though it might be, based on early blooms in late July, but I was still rewarded with my shot…just as I had foreseen it. The Calico Pennants are getting smaller and darker as the season progresses, but still put on a good show, and the Blazing Star is just barely beginning to open, but still…it is undeniably a dragonfly on Blazing Star. 🙂 High, gusty, winds keep the Calico Pennant in constant motion. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
When the flower head of Northern Blazing Star is fully open it is difficult to see the structure of the actual flowers. This head is just open enough to see individual blossoms. Northern Blazing Star, as I remind you every year at this time, is a plant with a very limited and rapidly shrinking range. Here in Maine, it is mostly found on the Kennebunk Plains, a remnant sand plain kept open by wildfire in the past, and now maintained by the Nature Conservancy. It is often called “the Blueberry Plains” because of the wild blueberries that grow there. They did a prescribed burn of the section where I go most often last September, and the Blazing Star, which is fire dependent, is coming back strong this year. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
There are two things of interest in this photo. Of course, the Northern Blazing Star…an endangered plant that grows abundantly on the Kennebunk Plains. This is a very early flower…the massed bloom will not happen until mid August…but there are generally a few plants in favored spots on the plains that bloom early. It is one of my favorite flowers and I wait patiently for it each year. The Nature Conservancy did a prescribed burn on the Day Brook side of the plains last September, and, as Blazing Star is “fire dependent”, I expect a really good bloom this year. The signs are shaping up. There are abundant plants and a few early bloomers. Should be good. The other thing of interest is the bug. It is, I was able to determine after some internet searches and a couple of AI powered identification apps, one of the Bee Flys…all of which have that long proboscis for drilling down for nectar. They are Bee Flies not only because they somewhat resemble bees, but because they are bee predators…bee parasites…laying their eggs in active ground bee nests, one egg per nest, where they hatch and the larva eats both the bee’s stored food and the bee larva themselves. The things you can learn on the internet! Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
This spring I ordered some wildflower seed packets, grubbed up some ground in the yard, and sowed them. They are just beginning to bloom. I am not sure what these flowers are, as it was a “New England Mix”. None are very big. The blue is the largest at under an inch, and the little pink one is really tiny at about a quarter of an inch. I am hoping to see more as the summer progresses and that at least some of them are perennials or self seeding. 🙂 Sony Rx10iv at various focal lengths. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications (which I also use for macro). Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
I won’t say “one last Wood Lily” because you just never know, but I want to post at least this one, before the season passes. Many of the lilies are very tall this year, probably to do with the timing and amount of rail we have had, the number of sunny days, etc. This pair, photographed on the Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area here in Southern Maine, was close to 3 feet above ground level. Sony Rx10iv at 367mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
I did warn you that I was not done with Wood Lilies. This cluster was growing on the Maguire Road section of the Kennebunk Plains, here in Southern Maine. Note the tiny Green Metallic Bee between the bottom two flowers, on its way to its next pollen stop. I came in close for a more conventional close-up. Sony Rx10iv at 106mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
I went back out to the Kennebunk Plains yesterday looking for Wood Lilies and dragonflies…this time to what I think of as the “back” side of the plains…the area along Maguire Road where it runs up toward Route 99 and the “front” side of the plains. I was, again, surprised to find that many of the lilies there were already past their prime. It seems to be an early bloom this year, and the lilies on the back side of the plains, for whatever reason, are always a bit advanced over the lilies on the front side. This is a smallish lily growing all by itself, and I zoomed in close for the shot. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. You will have to indulge me on Wood Lilies. I have several more shots to share, but they only last a few weeks and then they are gone for 12 months. 🙂
This is a female Spangled Skimmer dragonfly showing to good advantage among the meadow flowers. 🙂 Sometimes nature photography is as much about the “setting” as it is the creature. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. Taken at the Forever Wild Preserve in Kennebunk, Maine.