Pick a Spot and Stay There.

Last Thursday I wasn’t feeling terribly well, but I’d been in the office all day and hadn’t taken my photo-of-the-day for Project 365.  Some days when this happens I just trudge outside my apartment and take photos of my neighbors’ flowers, but I was feeling slightly more ambitious.  So I decided to go down to Nine Mile Run, which I’ve been doing a lot lately (macro photos can be really addicting!).  Since I wasn’t feeling like walking, I decided to follow the old nature-photography adage that often the best photos come to you when you just pick a spot and stay there.  After a little while you become part of your surroundings and the creatures don’t notice you enough to keep their distance.

So I picked a spot with a lot of blooming milkweed plants and stood there for about 45 minutes.  Here are some of the small citizens of Nine Mile Run that I encountered in my milkweed patch and along the trail as I was headed home.

A grasshopper that was not terribly shy about my being in his face:


A brown butterfly (which, unfortunately, I can’t ID!):


A damselfly that was even more elusive than they usually are:


A curious-looking moth with a blue body and a red proboscis that I think may be a yellow-collared scape moth:

Scape moth

A ladybug just hanging around:


Right around this time I spotted a hummingbird, which unfortunately was a little too fast for me (there’s a picture of a big gray blur that represents my best effort).  Still it was exciting to watch.  I think it was somewhat scared off by this very active Eastern tiger swallowtail, which was flying at the same flowers:

Luckily, the next best thing to a hummingbird flew right into my focus point moments later: a clearwing hummingbird moth.  I LOVE these guys.

Hummingbird moth

Then something started making quite a racket, and I looked up and saw this bird.  I’m not sure what type of bird it was, but I also saw a great blue heron right when I was taking up my perch in the milkweed.


I assumed this was another kind of grasshopper, but after poking around trying to identify that moth, I now think it might be a katydid.


I believe this is a viceroy and not a monarch because it has an extra band of black on its wings.


This skimmer must not have detected me, because I can hardly ever get this close to them.


A bug I’m going to intelligently identify as “orange guy” (edit: a soldier beetle, perhaps?):

Orange guy

A red spotted purple whose wings really complemented the stream color (and unfortunately, the color of the trash):

Red spotted purple

The last thing I saw was (I think) a pearl crescent.

Pearl crescent

Spotted any interesting bugs lately?  Maybe you should enter a picture of them in our photo contest!  (Wink wink, nudge nudge…)

8 thoughts on “Pick a Spot and Stay There.

  1. I am very impressed by your wildlife photography. I will be starting an internship with the PPC sometime next month. If I run into you, I might ask you for some suggestions. 🙂

  2. what’s the best way to get to the Nine Mile Run? I don’t drive, so the only option I’m looking at involved riding the PAT bus to someplace & hiking down. any recommendations?
    thanks again in advance!
    (I’ve been asking for a lot of directions lately in here, haven’t I? LOL!)

    • I’m not the most familiar with bus routes, but you should probably be able to get off on Braddock Ave in Regent Square and get there that way. If you get off the bus near Braddock and Hutchinson, you can go back a few blocks into the neighborhood and there’s a little road off Lancaster that takes you down into the park.

      • thanks!
        & according to google maps, there’s a trail/road that’s accessible via Biddle Ave from S Braddock Ave & is ~20 min to get to Nine Mile Run. if only I had known about all these places last year!
        meanwhile, looking forward to more pix, posts & events…

  3. We could not remember the name of the butterfly that looks like a monarch, so thank you for this. I stumbled upon your blog while looking for a moth that has a blue body and a short wing-span. I don’t believe it is the blue-bodied moth you have here, but it’s close. Anyway, thanks!

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