Wednesday, July 14, 2010
A Buggy Day
I hadn't walked for five minutes today when the sweat started dripping down my back and the deerflies arrived to enjoy nice salty bites from my flesh. Grrrr. I actually caught myself wishing that summer would soon be over. But not really. For one thing, I still have lots of flowers to find before frost ends the season, and I was on my way along Skidmore trails to where I knew a beautiful patch of Wild Bergamot grows. And sure enough, I found it in full bloom.
As it turned out, I wasn't the only one interested in these beautiful Mint Family flowers. This Hummingbird Moth paid no attention to me at all as it busied itself among the blooms. So how come I couldn't get a better photo? Well, this guy never stops moving, that's why.
This Tiger Swallowtail was a bit more cooperative, taking a long slow drink of nectar and obligingly opening its wings for me to enjoy.
The Queen Anne's Lace was also in full bloom, attracting lots of insects of its own, like this handsome red and black bug . . .
. . . and this magnificent Monarch Butterfly. Correction: I believe this is instead a Viceroy Butterfly, because of the black band across its lower wings. The non-poisonous Viceroy mimics the poisonous Monarch's coloration as a way to dissuade predators.
But not all the bugs rummaging around in the flowers were so pretty and benign. Just take a look at this murder scene. Here we have a bunch of Jagged Ambush Bugs (thanks BugGuide.net!) feeding on the corpse of a bee, while others pursue a Long-horned Flower Beetle.
Here's a shot of those bugs at work on that bee. It looks like they're sucking it dry with green straws sticking out of their faces. And check out those humongous front legs (The better to grab you with, my dear)!
Okay, we had death, how about a little sex to complete the picture?