Red Admiral: Kennebunk Plains Preserve, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — This appears to be a fairly fresh Red Admiral that I caught among the low growing Asters which currently cover the Kennebunk Plains. The Red Admiral is apparently found throughout Maine, but I am not totally certain that I have ever encountered one here before. The Admiral (which, according to the Wiki, was originally called the Red Admirable) was very busy and would not sit still, so I never did get the full wings shot I was after, before it lifted up and disappeared over some tall trees growing the little gully that leads down to Day Brook Pond. I glimpsed it once more flying high on my way back. 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 200-250 @ f4 @ 1/500th.
American Lady Butterfly: Kennebunk Plains Preserve, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — It is short aster season on the Kennebunk Plains here in Southern Maine, with at least 3 species of small asters in bloom, and large areas heavily carpeted. I found several fairly fresh looking American Ladies working a stand in the sun. They did not want to sit still for photography but I did my best. 🙂 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 @ 1/1000th, 1/1000th, 1/640th, and 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.
Northern Blazing Star: Kennebunk Plains Preserve, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — I tried to look it up, but I can find no information (in a casual search) on what percentage of Northern Blazing Star flowers are white…but from my experience it can’t be very high. Among perhaps a hundred thousand blossoms on the Kennebunk Plains in August, I have seen 3 plants with white flowers, for a total of less than a dozen flowers. So these white flowers are a rarity even for an already rare plant like Blazing Star. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. ISO 100 @ f4 @ 1/800th.
Wood Nympth on Northern Blazing Star, Kennebunk Plains Preserve, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — By far the most numerous butterfly on the Kennebunk Plains during August and Northern Blazing Star season is the Wood Nympth…but then the Wood Nympth is probably the most numerous butterfly in southern Maine all summer. They come out early in spring and are present well into fall, and always in good numbers. This year, as in most creatures in southern Maine, seems to be bumper year. There were hundreds of them in the Blazing Star. They are not the most attractive of butterflies, but it appears to be working for them. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. ISO 100 @ f4 @ 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.
Northern Blazing Star, Kennebunk Plains, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — This one of the denser stands of Northern Blazing Star on the Kennebunk Plains this year. Blazing Star is a fire dependent plant of glacial sand plains and is very restricted by just how little of that habitat remains undeveloped, both in Maine and all across the northern states to the Rocky Mountains. We are blessed that the Kennebunk Plains were kept open, first for wild blueberry production, and then as a Nature Conservancy Preserve, and that it is managed, in part, for fire dependent species like the Blazing Star. Stands like this one are getting harder and harder to find. Having it, basically, in my backyard (a short trike ride away) is very special. I used moderate telephoto, 107mm equivalent, on Nikon B700 to compass the image slight to show the stand to best effect. Program mode. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. ISO 100 @ f4.5 @ 1/1000th.
Goldenrod and Northern Blazing Star: Kennebunk Plains Preserve, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — Now that the heat wave has broken and the air quality is rising here in Southern Maine, I was able to get out to the Kennebunk Plains on my trike to see how this year’s crop of Northern Blazing Star is coming on. As I suspect from early blooms, it is a good year for Blazing Star. From Rt. 99 as you drive by, large sections of the Plains look purple with the flowers standing above the grasses. If you walk out any of the roads (all roads on the Plains are now closed to vehicle traffic, except the short section that gives access to the parking on the south side of Rt. 99) you will find that the stands are mostly not as dense as they look form Rt. 99. They never are, but they are impressive enough as it is. Goldenrod is also in full bloom, and the combination, where they grow together, provides a very striking contrast in color and form. Frame the pair from a low angle against the August sky and you have an image worth remembering 🙂 Nikon B700 at 71mm equivalent with macro engaged. ISO 100 @ f4.5 @ 1/1000th. -.3 EV exposure compensation. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
Clouded Sulphur: Kennebunk Plains Preserve, Maine, USA — Monarchs are not the only butterflies to be happy to see the Northern Blazing Star in bloom. While there were not as many Clouded Sulphurs as Monarchs, there were still good numbers, and the numbers will increase as the full bloom comes on. Nikon B700 at 1440mm equivalent. Program mode. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
Northern Mockingbird: Kennebunk Plains Preserve, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — This juvenile Northern Mockingbird had me going for a few moments. In the excitement of first seeing it and getting off a set of record shots while it was still partially obscured by foliage, I tried to make it into all kinds of other species…with that (abnormally?) long tail and speckled breast…but then it hopped up onto a more exposed branch and I had to settle for a young Mockingbird…especially as I have seen the adults in the area all summer. It was hyperactive and gave me all sorts of poses in the few moments before it moved on. Nikon B700 at 1440mm equivalent. Program mode. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.