While walking at the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve at Laudholm Farms the other day, I spotted what I thought might gleam off the shell of a very small insect on the dried flowers of a plant along the trail. I took a few tel-macro shots at 600mm equivalent, but I was not sure, through the viewfinder, if I was really even seeing a bug at all. In processing on my iPad Pro, I discovered this elegant little beetle. The Fieldguides AI app says it is a Cryptocephalus (Leaf Beetle) of some kind. The closest match on Google Lens, and the only one from North America, is 14 Spotted Leaf Beetle. The photo has received the super-crop treatment: processed as most of my photos are in Polarr, then opened in Pixelmator Photo Pro for enlargement using the Machine Learning Super Resolution tool, then recropped for what amounts to maybe the equivalent 2500mm of magnification from 5 feet, and possibly a 4x macro. This is a tiny bug, less than 1/8th inch long. 🙂 Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed as above. ISO 100 @ f4 @ 1/800th.
Praying Mantis (European Mantis): Kennebunk Plains Conservancy, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — I have not seen a Praying Mantis in several years. I see them so infrequently these days that I remember every encounter. Of course the one I saw a few years ago was the first one I had seen since I was a boy playing the fields of upstate New York on the Vermont border, so I am thinking either they are fairly rare (not likely) or I am just not looking at the right time. 🙂 This week when I went out to the Kennebunk Plains I saw at least 4, maybe 5, Praying Mantises, all in a little square of low vegetation about 20 feet on a side in the middle of the plains with no particular distinguishing features. Maybe there were other clusters like it…but I did not find any. Strange. It was quite windy and the Mantises were up on waving grass stalks hunting so my photos are not portrait quality, but still, it was fun to see them. I am happy not to be a honey bee when these are around. (I am happy not to be a honey bee most of the time, but I certainly would not want to fall prey to a Praying Mantis.) I am not certain these are European Mantis, but that is most common species in Maine. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. ISO 100 @ f4 @ 1/640 and 1/500th.
I seem to be photographing a lot of bees this month, both around home, and during our visit to New Mexico. Maybe August is the month of the bee? There are certainly a lot of bees in the Blazing Star boom on the Kennebunk Plains. Mostly Bumble Bees like this one…which is, I am thinking, the Common Eastern Bumble Bee (though there are several others it might be). This shot catches the business end of the bee…ready to prob deeply into the Blazing Star for pollen, and you can see by the pollen sacks on the legs that this bee has already been busy. Bumble Bees to occasionally sting (mostly when trapped or squashed), and I certainly would not want to be on the receiving end of that stinger. This is a shot from the Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Cropped and processed as usual in Polarr and then opened in Pixelmator Pro for enlargement using the Machine Learning Maximum Resolution tool, and recropped to fill the frame, for what amounts to a super-telephoto macro. ISO 100 @ f4 @ 1/640th.
Green Darner: Kennebunk, Maine, USA — Two more shots of the Green Darner pair that I found at the Southern Maine Health Care drainage ponds here in Kennebunk. They were very busy ovipositing on a floating reed, and I was able to extend the zoom on my Nikon B700 to the full reach of its enhanced digital zoom at 2880mm equivalent, for these telephoto macro shots of the two heads. Shutter preferred program mode at 1/400th. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
Green Darner: Kennebunk, Maine, USA — I go years between photos of a Green Darner…they just about never perch while I am around…but this is my second one for this year. I found a male settled out on the shore at the Sanford Lagoons last month, and this mating and ovipositing pair at the Southern Maine Medical Center drainage ponds this past weekend. There was a little window through the foreground reeds that opened and closed with the breeze. Nikon B700 at 917mm equivalent (they were close enough to overfill the frame at full zoom). Shutter program at 1/400th. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
White- or Cherry-faced Meadowhawk, Emmon’s Preserve, Kennebunkport, Maine, USA — Meadowhawk season is coming on here in Southern Maine. This is what might best be called a “light-faced meadowhawk”…in Maine it is most likely a White-faced or a Cherry-faced, but it could also be a Ruby Meadowhawk. Authorities say only microscopic examination of the reproductive parts can reliably distinguish these species…and there is some debate as to whether they are indeed separate species. DNA work is inconclusive at best…with the variations being very small and annoyingly inconsistent. Whatever. As a “light-faced meadowhawk” it is a striking creature. I expect to see increasing numbers of them from now right into autumn. Nikon B700 at 1440mm equivalent. Shutter program at 1/400th. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
Large Lace Border Moth: Kennebunk, Maine, USA — When I got back from my trike ride the other day, this lovely little moth was waiting for me in the ground cover along the foundation of our home. It was settled there, and I was able to put the camera in Macro mode and take this full frame close up at about 108mm equivalent. I did not know what the moth was, so I used the AI identification feature of my FieldGuides Leps app. I was not at all surprised at the name…it is what I would called this moth if I had the naming to do 🙂 Though it is the “large” lace border moth, it is only about an inch wing tip to wing tip. Nikon B700 as above. Shutter program with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
Eastern Pondhawk: One off my favorite dragonflies! I like the subtle change from blue to green and I really appreciate the little green dots on the hind side of the eyes. 🙂 It is a bonus that they perch so nicely for photos. I am seeing quite a few pondhawks this season, everywhere from the mucky drainage ponds at Southern Maine Medical Center to the clear clean waters of Day Brook Pond on the Kennebunk Plains…so they do not seem to as fussy about water as some of the dragons. Nikon B700 at 1440mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
Spangled and Slaty Skimmers: Day Brook Pond, Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — These two dragonflies are both highly competitive and fiercely territorial, so it is strange to see them sharing the same perch. It was an unusually hot day for Southern Maine, and I suppose any perch in a heat wave, but still… Nikon B700 at just over 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications for this camera. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
Slaty Skimmer: Day Brook Pond, Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — It was unusually hot yesterday for southern Maine, and there were lots of the common dragonflies out and active at Day Brook Pond. Slaty Skimmers now outnumber Spangled, but both are still there in good numbers. Perhaps because of the heat, the Slatys were perching a lot…and this one landed too close for a telephoto shot. I decided to see how close it would let me get and switched to macro focus on my Nikon B700, flipped out the LCD so I could see, and leaned in. This was taken at 97mm equivalent, at the outer limit of the macro focus, from about 4 inches. Not an identification shot, but interesting all the same. 🙂 Program mode and processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.