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
Bur marigold attracts many insects which enjoy the nectar and pollen from their flowers. The beautiful yellow flower heads can be seen in September and October growing in sunny or partially shady wet areas.
“For observing nature, the best pace is a snail’s pace.” ~Edwin Way Teale
I saw fewer insects in my flower garden this summer than I have in the past. The sweet autumn clematis and climbing milkweed vine, which usually teem with a variety of insects, seemed still and quiet. However, around the lake, the insects were more visible. Maybe because of the high heat and humidity that we’ve had, they, like me, have sought a cooler spot to pass the day away.
“How could this earth of ours, which is only a speck in the heavens, have so much variety of life, so many curious and exciting creatures?” ~Walt Disney
Enticed by its sweet smelling nectar, these butterflies could not resist the bright, beautiful blooms of the lantana plants.
“Smell is a potent wizard that transports you across thousands of miles and all the years you have lived.” ~Helen Keller
The fragrant white flowers of the Sweet Autumn Clematis attract a number of tiny creatures that find food and shelter among its vines.
“Many things grow in the garden that were never sown there.” ~Thomas Fuller
Occasionally during the summer a climbing milkweed vine will spring up in our backyard and cover another already established plant. Though considered a problem weed, sometimes I allow it to stay around for a while because I enjoy observing the variety of native insects that are attracted by its strongly scented, tiny white flowers and sappy stems.
“Leave part of the yard rough. Don’t manicure everything. Small children in particular love to turn over rocks and find bugs, and give them some space to do that …” ~Richard Louv
There were a number of buckeye butterflies fluttering about the tall grass that was growing along the Mississippi levee. Occasionally they would alight for a short rest (and a photo) before continuing on their way.
“If you get tired, learn to rest, not to quit.” ~Unknown
An Eastern Amberwing dragonfly floating along atop a dried leaf at Reelfoot Lake.
“Sometimes opportunities float right past your nose. Work hard, apply yourself, and be ready. When an opportunity comes you can grab it.” ~Julie Andrews