Everywhere you look, nature is aglow with autumn’s golden hues. These are some of the beautiful golden treasures that I have seen and appreciated over recent weeks.
… Life on earth is truly a gift
every moment we must treasure,
it’s the simple things we take for granted
that become our ultimate pleasures.
~Kathy J Parenteau
Taking advantage of the cooler fall temperatures and the delightful sunshine, we spent a peaceful afternoon on the lake at Reelfoot Wildlife Refuge. It was fun to hear the sounds of the crows and herons arguing, the screech of the eagles soaring overhead and the gentle sound of the wind blowing across the water.
“Be mindful of the peace and quiet. It is only when you keep silent that you allow the sounds of the forest to enter.” ~Unknown
On a recent hike, we were able to see some beautiful Question Mark butterflies along the trail.
The first one was peacefully sitting on a long stem, soaking up the sun. As I took a few photos from different angles, I began to notice a spider web located directly behind the butterfly.
I took a few steps back to get a better look and realized how incredibly near this butterfly was to a spider web which reached from where the spider was sitting a couple of feet high, all the way down to the ground. I couldn’t help but wonder if it had any idea just how close it was to becoming a meal for a stealthy spider.
Later, we came upon two other Question Mark butterflies along the path. They were sitting in much safer places than the first, and were doing a good job of blending in with the scenery.
“Isn’t it funny how obvious and oblivious are so close?” ~Unknown
I noticed this insect while out hiking. At first appearance, it looked like a large, innocent looking fly, but after doing some research, I discovered that it is a type of Robber Fly, and innocent it is not. Robber Flies catch flying insects such as bees, butterflies, grasshoppers, dragonflies and other large flies and insects in mid-air. Then they use their short snout (proboscis) to pierce and inject the prey with saliva laced with toxins and enzymes. This mixture paralyzes the prey and begins breaking down their innards. The snout is then used to suck out the soupy insides. Not a pretty picture, but I guess even Robber Flies need to eat.
“Things are not always what they seem; the first appearance deceives many.” ~Plato
The dragonflies seemed to know that the warm, sunny days are numbered and will soon be coming to an end. They were out enjoying the sunshine, patrolling their territory and, undoubtedly, taking advantage of the abundance of mosquitoes in the area. Occasionally they would rest on floating leaves or vegetation near the lake’s edge.
“Why are our days numbered and not, say, lettered?” ~Woody Allen
Since our house faces the west, we get to see some beautiful sunsets when we step out on the porch in the evening. Between our house and the sunset stands a tree. There was a time when it was a pretty tree with two long, full branches and companion trees standing at its side. However, at least a couple of times over the last few years, straight-line winds have come through and done major damage to parts of the tree and taken out some of the other trees. Still, today, the tree is thriving, and continues to stand strong in the foreground of many a sunset photo.
“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
We spotted these two beauties sitting in their own individual webs, located near each other in a flower garden. Black and Yellow Garden Spiders are also known as zig-zag or writing spiders because of the thick silk pattern which is found near the center of their orb-shaped webs. The pattern is thought to deter birds from flying into the web and messing it up, as well as, perhaps, to camouflage the spider. These colorful spiders are not harmful to humans and, in fact, are beneficial since their webs catch many flying insects which are nuisances during the late summer and early fall.
“Normal is an illusion. What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly.” ~Charles Addams
‘Tis the season — snake season that is. While walking to a shed in my backyard earlier in the week, I felt impressed to look back along the path I’d just walked. Glancing back, I saw this snake outstretched, with his head held high and his tongue hissing. Though not poisonous, it was, nonetheless, a bit unsettling to have such a close and unexpected encounter. Today as I walked along that path, I knew to keep a close eye out for my new found friend.
“Look back, and smile on perils past.” ~Walter Scott
This juvenile skink was contently basking in the warm afternoon sun. With his neutral color and distinctive stripes, he blended in well with the dried pine needles and grass — all except for his bright blue tail, which gave him away. Fortunately for the Five-Lined Skink, if a predator grabs him by the tail, the tail can fall off, allowing him to run for safety. A new tail will soon grow back.
“When something goes wrong in your life just yell ‘Plot Twist!’ and move on.” ~Molly Weis
These photos of an immature Dickcissel were taken back in May along the Mississippi levee road. Though hard to see, the bird has a small, green insect in its beak.
“Youth ages, immaturity is outgrown, ignorance can be educated … but stupid lasts forever.” ~Aristophanes