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…)