This is, according to iNaturalist’s iSeek, another Bee Fly, the second species I have found on the Kennebunk Plains. The Bee Flies are not called “bee flies” because they look like bees…though they do a bit…but because they are bee parasites, laying their eggs in ground bee nests where the larva eat, first the food the bees have stored, and then the bee larva when they hatch. Unsavory 🙂 Still it is an interesting creature. This one is quite a bit bigger than the white-furred one I found previously, and has more patten on the wings. There are many species of Bee Flies, and iSeek and its AI engine could come no closer. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
Eastern Pondhawk, Wells, Maine, USA — I suppose one of the reasons I like Eastern Pondhawks is that they perch so nicely for photos. 🙂 But I do like the colors, and the name. Okay, so what is not to like about the Eastern Pondhawk. You get my point? This was taken at small drainage pond on the grounds of a senior citizen housing complex (really upscale semi-attached condos) just behind Route 1 south of Kennebunk and north of Wells. 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.
Of all the insects in the world, I like the green, shiny ones the best! There, I have said it. It makes no sense, but I can not deny it. I like green shiny insects! I found these Six-spotted Tiger Beetles hunting on the rocks along the trail at the Forever Wild Preserve in Kennebunk, Maine, while I was out hunting for dragonflies myself. (We shared a hunter’s moment. 🙂 ) From an insect’s point of view, these are indeed tigers, with fearsome jaws. They prey on any other insect they can catch. I read on wiki that even their larva pop up out of the ground like jack-in-the-boxes to capture passing prey. Fierce indeed. And so pretty, so shiny, so green! Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. (Note that one of these has only 4 spots…but that is, again, according to wiki, not all that uncommon.)
The wild roses are in bloom at Laudholm Farms (Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve) just down the road from us…well, actually, they are in bloom all though southern Maine right now…but I photographed this one at Laudholm Farms. It has some pesky visitors, known to gardeners (and everyone else) as the Red-snout Beatles. They are not welcome in most people’s gardens, as they damage the plants, but I guess, out here in nature, they are to be expected where the flowers are in bloom. Sony Rx10iv at 512mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
The Green Metallic Bee clan is among my favorite set of insects. They are mostly tiny. If you know Owl Clover you know that the blossoms are themselves quite small, so you can get a sense of just how small the bee is. I am always delighted to find one. I only found my first one a few years ago, quite by chance, right in our front yard working the flowers. I never “expect” to see them, and certainly did not expect one when I bent down to photograph the Owl Clover. I did a brief search, by the way, on why Owl Clover is called Owl Clover. The consensus seems to be that no one knows. ? Some say the flower heads might look like little owls with the individual blossoms making “owl ears”…but no one seems to be particularly convinced by that solution…and I certainly am not. It shall remain a mystery. Of course there is no doubt about why the Green Metallic Bee is called the Green Metallic Bee. 🙂 Like the Owl Clover, there are many species of Green Metallic Bee…not all of them tiny. I won’t even attempt to hazard a guess as to which one this is, though I am pretty sure it is the only species I have ever seen here in Southern Maine. Sony Rx10iv at about 90mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
The masses of Lupine flowers in the the field where they grow out toward Emmon’s Preserve in Kennebunkport attract all kinds of insects, including this giant bumble bee. I could not begin to say which of the 16 species of bumble bee we have in Maine this is…except that is not the orange-belted. 🙂 Notice, from the pollen collected on the back legs, how red the pollen of the Lupine must be. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
Eight-spotted Forester and White-striped Black Moths, Emmon’s Preserve, Kennebunkport, Maine, USA. I went out to Emmon’s Preserve yesterday on my eBike, to see about early dragonflies, but mostly to see if the field of Lupine up the road from there was in full bloom yet. I found these two moths in one corner of the meadow above the Land Trust buildings. Two little back moths. There were quite a few of the White-striped Blacks, but I only saw the one Forester. I had to look them both up, as they were new to me. They are distinctive enough so that it was an easy search on the internet. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
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.