Blog Archives

Dogbane Beetle- A Natural History

Friends, a friend (thanks Kathy) pointed out this very colorful beetle to me.  It is a dogbane beetle and eats leaves from Dogbane and Milkweed of which we have plenty in Crex.  Probably the most noticeable characteristic of this tiny bug is the iridescent glow of color caused by small scales stacked at different angles on top of pigment.  The circled areas show the scales as dark dots in lighter circles.  One area will have focused scales while an adjacent area will be out of focus.  The light bounces around and give the iridescence.  These beetles are harmless to agricultural crops in that they only eat the leaves of milkweed and dogbane.

Another Karner

blue karnerFriends, could not resist showing you one more Karner Butterfly, and endangered specie here in Crex Meadows.  This is a better image in that he is perched on a lead plant flower instead of the usual scat perch and the blue spots on his hind wing are showing their iridescent glow. The light needs to be right for those spots to glow and look like abalone.  The bokeh is also better than the previous image.  til Tomorrow MJ


dun skipperFriends, this tiny skipper is sipping from the vervain that is abundant in Crex right now . His yellow head suggests that he is a Dun Skipper, maybe someone can help with the identification. I am far from a butterfly expert.  I like his proboscis looped in the air and i like the bokeh.  The background was rendered as amorphous because the distance between the subject and  background was greatly out of focus. I am not always so lucky.  til Tomorrow MJ


Dragon Flies Everywhere

four spotFriends, Tons of dragon flies are present in the northwoods this year and these dragon flies are just one of the species.  Not sure what they are called, but thought they were unique.  I had to move around a little to get both wing tips in focus and the background faded enough not to be too confusing, did I succeed? til Tomorrow MJ

Weekly Photo Challenge:Fresh

morning glory macroFriends, this macro photo is the inside of a wild morning glory or bindweed.  Peering over the edge of the near petal and focused on the back petal.  I like the fresh abstract  feel to this image, just hinting at the softness within. til Tomorrow MJ

Wing Detail Abstract

red admiral wing detailFriends, this beautiful butterfly landed in front of me and the light was just right, across the wing to show the details.  I hated the background so kept magnifying the image until I liked the pattern.  At first I thought this was a red-spotted purple, but the white stripe has me confused.  Can you identify for me?? til Tomorrow MJ

The Search

tailed blue2Friends, this time of year we are searching for new Karner Blue butterflies in Crex Meadows. The Karner is a rare specie with an endangered population but the host plant, wild lupine grows here in abundance.  Every year the volunteers of Crex survey the prime areas for Karners.  The second flight or hatching is expected any day now so we are all out searching for these tiny blue butterflies.  Yesterday I found these tailed blues but no Karners.  This is macro with a telephoto lens.  An extender (20mm) is between the lens and the camera so I can focus at about 4 feet away and avoid disturbing his feeding on the orange milkweed.  His underwing is similar to Karners, but the little tail is the deciding factor.  Still searching for the Karner  til Tomorrow MJ


Rock Flowers

Friends, these rock lichens are very colorful and were found along French Creek in Custer State Park that is part of the Black Hills of South Dakota.  They are blooming anytime of year, lying in the grass just waiting to be discovered. Lichens are an organism that is composed of fungus and alga in a symbiotic relationship, a marriage where both benefit from the presence of the other. til Tomorrow MJlichen custer lichens

Exotic Fiddlehead

fernheadFriends, this huge fern is gently unfolding within the tropical environment of Como Conservatory,  Ferns are a world of green, and this pinkish head will soon turn green.  If you look closely you can see structure that looks like feather structure, below is a macro of this substructure.  I am always amazed by the intricate macro structures, probably why I was an electron microscopist (cell biology and structures) in an earlier life, til Tomorrow MJ

fernhead macro

Blue Flag Iris, Traditional Approach

Friends, this blue iris or blue flag iris is difficult to photograph for two reasons.  One is that nearly always is perched in a complicated green background and two is that the blooms are ravaged by bees, butterflies, dragonflies and hummers as soon as the blooms open.  This unusually fresh bloom was found early in the day against a water background. What a find!! for a flower person. How do you like it ? You can subscribe to my blog in the column on the right. I blog every day so stay tuned, til Tomorrow MJ

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