Male Fiery Skipper on Chrysanthemum

15 10 2010

Skipper butterflies are very common in Virginia. I was able to identify this one with the help of Richard K. Walton’s “Skippers of the Northeast” website here. Click on the photos and you’ll see excellent videos, filmed by Walton, to help you identify different types of skippers. I photographed this one dining in a huge bank of ‘Country Girl’ Chrysanthemums at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, Virginia.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Kilroy was here

15 10 2010

Spotted Cucumber Beetle on ‘Country Girl’ Chrysanthemum flower, Green Spring Gardens, Alexandria, Virginia

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Skippers on ‘Zowie’ Zinnia

3 09 2010

Photographed at Green Spring Gardens, 9.3.2010

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Somebody’s watchin’ me…

3 09 2010

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Milkweed nymphs

3 09 2010

Photographed at Green Spring Gardens, 9.3.2010

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Cucumber Beetle on Clematis

3 09 2010

I was working on a graphic design project this morning and glanced outside to see a tiny splotch of pink through the slats of the fence in the backyard garden. I didn’t have my glasses on, so I wasn’t sure if it was a pink-shirted neighbor passing by (albeit rather slowly) or—gasp!—is that a (very late blooming) Clematis? It was the latter—a lovely solitary bloom showcasing its beauty on the outside of the fence. I grabbed my camera with a normal lens and took a few shots. I zoomed in on the screen and noticed what appeared to be an insect’s legs in the petals. I ran in to get my macro lens and shot several images of this Cucumber Beetle. By the time he was done with his foraging, he was covered with pollen, head to toe!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Common Blue Damselfly (E. cyathigerum)

6 08 2010

I shot this image at Green Spring Gardens this afternoon. First, this was a hard shot to get—these little guys are fast! Second, I couldn’t set up the tripod quick enough, so this image was shot handheld. Third, this was the sharper of only two shots I could fire before he flew away. Fourth, this guy is tiny—no more than an inch long and extremely hard to track. So, considering the shooting conditions were far from ideal, I think it’s a pretty decent shot!

This is a male Common Blue Damselfly. Females are usually dark with dull green replacing the blue areas. It is one of only two species of damselfly that can be found in both North America and Europe.

Know how to tell the difference between a dragonfly and a damselfly? Dragonflies rest with their wings held perpendicular to the body, while damselflies hold them almost parallel. Also, damselflies are usually smaller and slimmer than dragonflies.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Peekaboo

28 04 2009

Yet another case of “I didn’t see that little guy when I was getting this shot.” Look in the center of this Siberian Iris—there’s a tiny green bug staring directly at you! I’m pretty sure this little bug is a Katydid nymph Scudderia. I photographed him/her at the Huntsville Botanical Garden last week.

Click here to see what one looks like up close and personal in a photograph I shot and posted on my blog last year.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

bugwhiteiris1





Give up?

27 04 2009

It’s a little hard to see them with screen resolution because they are so tiny, so here’s the big reveal below. Thanks to Burstmode for giving it the ‘ole college try!

spotthebugs





Spot the bugs and win a prize!

27 04 2009

I photographed this past-its-prime-time tulip bloom at the Huntsville Botanical Gardens on April 19. It had rained off and on all morning long so everything I photographed was cover in raindrops (a bonus!). Thank you to Sue, who held an umbrella over me and my beloved camera while I captured many of these images. Gardeners and photographers—neither will let rain deter them from their passions!

I was concentrating so hard on getting the raindrops in focus that I didn’t even notice any of the tiny green bugs seeking refuge from the rain on this tulip until I opened and enlarged it in Photoshop! I counted eight total. Do you see them? Some are more visible than others—in some cases you’ll see just a few legs poking out or just a dark green or brown speck.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

countthebugslorez2





Pat, extended

27 08 2008

Now that looks like a spider, doesn’t it? After I shot the through-the-window images, I went outside to photograph Pat and she skidaddled. A bit past dusk she was back to web-central, legs extended, waiting for dinner. To give you a sense of scale, with her legs extended, she’s about an inch long (yes, I held a ruler up to the window…just for you). I must admit she looks a bit more spider-y-ish with her legs extended. She looks tick-ish in the previous posting, doesn’t she?

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





A very fine day, indeed!

26 08 2008

Why?

1) I finished a project for a client and they were on time and on deadline so I was able to upload to the printer by noon, which means I was able to….

2) then drive out to Loudon to photograph Mike and Alicia’s baby girl, Ashley Jocelyn, coming into the world. I got there less than a half hour before the real excitement started, then…

3) when I got back, the Walking Stick insect that was on my studio window right before I left was actually still there, five hours later, waiting for her closeup! I saw her as I was packing up my photo gear, made a mental note to remember to photograph her, then promptly forgot about it as I ran out the door. I thought it was a dried twig stuck to the window but then I noticed the uniform appendages sticking out of the sides. This is the first Walking Stick I have seen since I was a kid! I came down to my studio when I got home from the hospital, and when I saw she was still on the window, I ran out to photograph her. She disappeared about five minutes later. See there? She was waiting for me.

Below is a shot of my Northern Walking Stick (Diapheromera femorata). The Northern Walking Stick is the most common one in the U.S. I think this one is a female because several online sources mentioned that mature females have a glossy, hard appearance like polished wood and many are yellowish green (like this one). This one is more yellow that the one I found here. Research revealed the following tidbits:

—This species sprays a defensive odor that is offensive and irritating. I can’t vouch for that because this gal didn’t seem bothered by me.
—They feed on the the leaves of many deciduous trees, including oak, hazelnut, sassafras, black cherry, and black locust. They also eat clover.
—Males grow to 3 inches long; females to 3-3/4 inches long. Their antenna can be an additional 2/3 of their body length.
—They have the ability to regenerate lost legs (pretty cool).
—They live just one year, laying a single egg dropped into leaf litter. Nymphs hatch in spring and become adults by late summer.
—They are one of the few non-tropical species that can be collected (legally) in the wild to be kept as pets, and they’re hardy insects.
—It has been reported that Northern Walking Sticks can reproduce without a mate. (Even cooler)

I call this a “record shot,” although it didn’t turn out bad considering it was almost dark, I used a bounce flash, and the window ended up looking like a black velvet background. Of course I would have preferred this nestled on dark colored foliage in overcast light, but I’m just thrilled she was still there so I could immortalize her on film…er, pixels.

See? It was a very fine day, indeed. A rush job finished on time…the honor of witnessing (and photographing) a baby coming into the world…and an unusual insect in my garden waiting for me to record her. Never a dull moment!

I’ll be posting photos of baby Ashley and her family shortly.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.






Little bud, little bug

6 08 2008

Class, I cannot identify this tiny little beetle-like bug for you. I’ve looked through my various bug identification books and online, to no avail. Any takers? First to identify wins a prize (honest–I’ll think of something!).

He (she?) was traipsing around the passionflower blooms and was less than 1/4 inch long (making it hard to focus that close, too).

NEWSFLASH! We have a winner—Dalogan responded with an identification. My beetle is a Spotted Cucumber Beetle (Diabrotica undecimpunctata). This beetle is considered a major pest of many field crops, but since I have no field crops, and he’s the only one I’ve seen this summer, I think we can co-exist. Thanks, Dalogan!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved. www.cindydyer.wordpress.com





Late-blooming Clematis & name that bug

18 07 2008

This unknown (at present, to me) Clematis flowers well after the Nelly Moser Clematis grand showcase of blooms. This morning I went out to photograph the shaft of sunlight on this flower and as I was focusing, this little beetle-like visitor came into view…unexpected, tiny, and barely over an 1/8 inch long! While the depth of field is not optimal on such a tiny element, I loved the graphic pink and green wedges framing him, so I’m sharing it anyway!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Little green bug

7 06 2008

I photographed this really tiny green bug (a type of katydid, perhaps?) on an oak leaf hydrangea at River Farm earlier this evening. I was there to photograph the American Horticultural Society’s 2008 Great American Gardeners Awards and Book Awards recipients. I was passing time before the guests starting arriving and saw this little guy. I didn’t have a macro lens on hand, but got a fairly decent shot nonetheless. This weekend I’ll post a sampling of the awards photos and tell you a little bit about the really interesting, talented, and (award-winning) horticulturists, authors, and designers I had the privilege of meeting (and photographing) tonight.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved. www.cindydyer.com/GardenPhotos





Hardly seems fair winning my own prize…

6 05 2008

I remembered photographing this bug about two years ago and sharing it with my Garden Club members and a few friends. I went through my e-mail archives and found it this evening! Here’s the e-mail thread:

7/7/2006: Hey everyone…Remember when I mentioned that I thought that bug might be a bee? I was hesitant and apparently rightly so! Thanks to my friend Jeff, I have been enlightened on one of the differences between bees and flies…thanks, Jeff! Be sure to click on the link he sent…it matches my bug exactly! Here was his letter below. — Cindy

___________________________________________________

Cin, It is a type of fly, Order Diptera. Like all flies, it has two wings. Most other flying insects — bees, wasps, even most beetles, have four. I would say that your specimen is a Flower Fly or Hoverfly, family Syrphidae, species Toxomerus.
http://www.pbase.com/lejun/image/29589768
___________________________________________________

From my Dad 7/7/2006
Oh, I knew immediately that it was a Flower Fly of the order Diptera, and that it was of the family Syrphidae, but I was uncertain of the exact species so I just let it slide — your misclassification was harmless and, as you know, I dislike correcting people in such matters (whether bee, fly or flea, it was a gorgeous photo).

___________________________________________________

Great. Now everyone on two coasts knows I’m a nerd. A little bit of Mr. Science goes a long way. — Jeff
_____________________________________________________

No, now everyone knows I have a terribly, terribly, TERRIBLY brilliant, curious, mentally acute, resourceful, wise, erudite friend and one is judged by the company one keeps….so it’s a win-win situation for me! And remember, it’s all about me! In fact, I put your entire name because there was another Jeff in the e-mail and although he is also very bright, I did not want to give him credit where credit was not due. The proper nerd has been publicly thanked. Remember, I’ve been educating these Weedettes for over two years on everything I know and everything I research…..they’re used to MY nerdiness….I just brought company with me this time! — Cindy

________________________________________________

I photographed this same fly (okay, not THIS same fly, but a distant relative) last summer. I knew it looked familiar. Here are closeups of one on a coneflower. Learn more about this very beneficial insect: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoverfly

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.   www.cindydyer.com/GardenPhotos





Identify this insect and win a prize!

5 05 2008

Yes, it’s another Bearded Iris (deal with it!). But this time, Mother Nature has added another element—a unidentified fly-thingie (a prize to the first person to identify it correctly–with proof of your research, of course). I’m fairly certain I’ve posted a photo awhile back of this same bug (at first glance, I don’t see it). I even think I successfully identified it back then. Stay tuned for further information…

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.    www.cindydyer.com/GardenPhotos