Leaf-cutter Bee: SMMC Kennebunk, Kennebunk, Maine, USA, June 2022 — This is most probably a Leaf-cutter Bee, which I found working the flowers around the drainage ponds at Southern Maine Medical Center in Kennebunk. (Less probably it is a Mason Bee, which apparently looks and acts very much like the Leaf-cutter…but which builds mud nests). Both are solitary bees, great pollinators, but not honey makers. In looking them up this morning I found that there is a whole Leaf and Mason Bee culture out there, with firms that will sell you starter sets to establish the bees in your garden or farm or orchard, to help with pollination, and lots of instructional material on-line about keep them. Who knew. Not I. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Pixelmator Photo and Apple Photos. (This is a heavy crop, enlarged with Pixelmator’s ML Enlarge tool.) ISO 100 @ f8 @ 1/1250th.
Eastern Pondhawk: SMMC Kennebunk, Kennebunk, Maine, USA, June 2022 — I have been watching out for these. The Eastern Pondhawk is one of my favorite dragonflies. I like the subtle shades of blue and green, blending into each other, and I like the fact that it sits on sunny rocks for its portrait. 🙂 This is a male. The females remain mostly all green with brown stripes on the abdomen while the males develop this prunosity that renders the abdomen increasingly blue. They are active, agile hunters, but they like to sit and sun themselves as well. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Pixelmator Photo and Apple Photos. ISO 100 @ f4 @ 1/500th.
Autumn Meadowhawk dragonfly: Kennebunk and Wells, Maine, USA — The Autumn Meadowhawk is the only dragonfly flying this first week in November here in southern Maine, but there are still fair numbers to be seen, almost anywhere where there is water nearby. The top one was along the Kennebunk Bridle Path where it crosses a more or less fresh water marsh beside the Mousam River. There are always dragonflies there and it is one of my favorite places to look for them. The bottom one was taken in the deep woods at Laudholm Farms, with only a little stream nearby, not a place I would particularly look for any kind of dragonfly. And not only are they still flying, I had a mating pair land on my chest (I was wearing a bight yellow hoodie for hunting season safety and perhaps the color attracted them). Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos and assembled in FrameMagic. ISO 100 @ f4.5 and f4 @ 1/1000th and 1/500th.
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.