A very close encounter

We are experiencing very serious (officially “exceptional”) drought conditions here in Omaha, having had no rain worth mentioning since June.  Vast patches of vegetation (meadows, grasslands, lawns, etc.) are horribly dry, brown, brittle, and parched.  There was a 5-minute shower of light drizzle yesterday, but it seems that any real rain that starts evaporates before it makes groundfall.  Still, some of the flora are continuing to hold their own.  I’ve been watchful to see what is available for the little folk who depend on flowering vegetation, especially since we had to remove the cucumber vine, growing in the three-lobed sumac hedge, that was so attractive to the skippers and hairstreaks whose portraits I offered recently, since we understand that it’s a pernicious, invasive weed.  So I have been watching the rest of the garden for activity.  One plant that has managed to hold its own is our trumpet vine, which uses an alder as its foundation.  We have had a bit of a break in the extreme heat that we’ve been experiencing, and around mid-afternoon today my photo angel, Frances, whispered in my ear that it was time to go out to see what was afoot in the foliage.

I went straight for the trumpet vine.  There were lots of little bumblebees (Bombus impatiens?), as usual, but the first thing that really caught my eye was an elegant, small, black wasp with yellowish-white markings.  I went back into the house to get my camera and when I returned, it was not readily visible, so I had a closer look at the bumblebees.

My black wasp (probably a diggerer wasp, one of the Crabronidae, possibly a Cerceris sp.) finally made a reappearance a few minutes later, but didn’t stay for long.

Fortunately, a nearby movement caught my attention just about the time that the wasp left and I found, to my delight, that a Red-Banded Hairstreak (Calycopis cycrops) had decided to pay a visit.  I featured this exquisite, tiny butterfly in a recent post, and I was elated to have another one to study on this occasion.  The lighting was quite a challenge, with bright sunlight and deep shadows, but I am a patient person and I waited for the better part of an hour for it to position itself in advantageous light a few times.

While I was standing there, trying my best to be still and ready for the few moments when the light was good, the bumblebees kept up their uninterrupted activity in the immediate vicinity, and I just happened to be ready and shooting when one approached the blossom on which my Hairstreak subject was perched.  I cannot take full credit for this shot—I was there and ready, in the right place and at the right time, true, but I have Frances (and continuous drive) to thank for granting me this capture of the serendipitous approach of the incoming bumblebee.

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About krikitarts

Welcome to Krikit Arts! I'm a veterinarian; photographer; finger-style guitarist, composer, instructor, and singer/songwriter; fisherman; and fly-tyer. Please enjoy--and please respect my full rights to all photos on this Website!
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25 Responses to A very close encounter

  1. Victoria says:

    Wow!
    Fantastic shots.
    Isn’t it just great when you’re in the right place at the right time.
    (I wish I could send you some of our Australian rain showers – my DSLR is almost starting to gather dust with our late winter rains keeping me indoors for much of the last fortnight).

  2. ‘Lots of little bumble bees’ you say so easily. We are lucky to see one this season, it has been a bad summer for a great many of our insects. So it is nice to see that you have faired better……and what great shots.

    • krikitarts says:

      Victoria wanted to send us some of her Australian rain, so I’m wishing I could carry on the good thoughts and send you some of our bumblebees and other insects–but that’s not always a good idea. One never knows what might upset an ecosystem.

  3. You may have been in the right place at the right time, but you obviously have unlimited patience as well!! You have outdone yourself again Gary. I’m always so impressed when I read your blog :).

    • krikitarts says:

      Yup, patience is a large part of the process and if one can develop enough of it, sooner or later (normally later) it usually pays off. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that mine’s unlimited, though!

  4. Jeff Sinon says:

    All great Gary, but the second of the bumble bee is the winner in my book!

  5. sandy says:

    Wow, I am impressed! Is that a native vine? The flowers are lovely. My family in Oklahoma is experiencing the same kind of weather. I hope you all get some relief soon.

    • krikitarts says:

      I just consulted CD on the gold trumpet vine. She bought it at a local nursery because it is supposed to be less invasive than the more common orange variety; it is a U.S. native, but some controls are in order to keep it in check. Yeah, the drought is really somethiing–everyone is hoping for relief soon.

  6. Mike Powell says:

    Wow. I especially like the Hairstreak photos. The last photo is amazing!

  7. krikitarts says:

    Thanks a lot, Mike; I consider myself really fortunate to have been able to make that one.

  8. Meanderer says:

    Super shots Gary; so clear and crisp.

  9. krikitarts says:

    Thanks, Meanderer, it was a most rewarding session!

  10. MikeP says:

    Hey Gary… I am in Lake Louise, Alberta and I can tell you they are feeling the lack of rain also. Exceptional shots… so glad someone has the patience to take these. The end of Sept I will be taking a WS with Mike Moats on….. macro photography. Wish me luck and keep posting.

  11. krikitarts says:

    Hey, Mike! I’ve heard and seen so much of L. Louise–can’t wait to see what you will have to share! I do most certainly wish you the very best with your new workshop, and am eager to see what effects they have on your already spectacular work.

  12. seekraz says:

    Beautiful shots, Gary…love that last one, too.

  13. Adrian Lewis says:

    Absolutely wonderful shots, Gary! Adrian

  14. Finn Holding says:

    That last shot is superb, I think you should take full credit for it. A haistreak and and airborne bee in the same shot is some achievement!

  15. krikitarts says:

    Well, okay…but my photo angel Frances had her finger in my pie of luck as well, for certain!

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