After helping out at the banding station this past Saturday I made my usual loop around Presque Isle and ended up along Beach 11. I walked down to the water's edge in search of shore birds and, finding none, headed back towards my car. I had been hearing the "potato chip" flight song of a goldfinch when, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted him diving into the middle of a span of grasses and wildflowers that skirts the shoreline. Camera in hand, I waded into the sea of golden rod and grasses and scared out the poor little goldfinch:( Head hung in shame for scaring the bird, I continued through the patch until my eyes hit upon a particular golden rod plant that was virtually bathed in activity. From a distance I could see there were at least 4 or 5 bumble bees on this one plant. As I got closer I also saw 2-3 different types of wasps and what I thought was a very colorful beetle. I started snapping away with my telephoto lens which does a fairly decent job with macro. After a few minutes with the wind continually forcing me to wait too long (for me) between shots, however, I headed to the car and attached my macro lens. This allowed me to not only get closer, but also to hold the stems of the goldenrod to keep them still. It was just starting to get dark and cooler so the bees and wasps were quite docile. While photographing one of the bumble bees, I spotted an amorous pair of green spotted beetles. I had never seen this species before so was anxious to get some shots to do some research and find out what they were. That's one of the many things I love about nature photography and blogging, the learning process. I'm really not fully satisfied until I've definitively identified what I've photographed. In this case the beetles were spotted cucumber beetles. Aren't they so cute, and acrobatic!? Hard to believe they're so harmful to crops.
This black wasp with a white spot on his face was another new one on me. I turned to my two favorite on-line sites for "bug" identification, Bug Guide.Net and "What's That Bug?" and found that it is a Mason Wasp. This is the little beauty I first thought was a colorful beetle. It turned out to be an ailanthus webworm moth, responsible for the webs you see at the end of many tree branches on PISP.
The Spotted Cucumber Beetles--must be love!
OK, I'll leave you with one of those critters that has escaped my attempts at identification. I think it may be in the bluet family of damsels. Any help out there?