Last week I got away to Cape Cod, and visited this spot in Brewster at sunset:
The beach has tidal flats with saltmarsh grass seen here. The beach area was off to the right, and with an inlet and broad pool to the left of this image. I also found a few interesting flowers that I’ll save for another post, and perhaps some other views of this beach and the glorious midday clouds. I haven’t been to the Cape in a number of years, I’ve never seen it more beautiful.
I’ve seen this caterpillar before, and despite the name, I’ve always seen them on a composite, such as a Black-eyed Susan:
Another image from my favorite meadow, not far from where I live. The caterpillar held this pose for a long time. It might have sensed me, and used this pose as a defense. Many of the caterpillars in the Emerald moth group are twig mimics.
A recent find:
It may be Gerardia (or Agalinis) purpurea. G. purpurea is a partial parasite, feeding off the roots of a host plant. The flower is quite small, this image taken at 2x or 3x magnification and stacked. Not a wildflower I’ve noticed before.
The bud of a composite – the rays (petals) are just starting to emerge:
From what is becoming my favorite meadow, where I’ve photographed Rudbeckia, butterfly weed, boneset, vervain, and other flowers. We’re just emerging from a dry spell, but this meadow is in a wetland that has spared many flowers from the universal wilt.
All curled up:
A backyard caterpillar. I was out weeding, and looked over at a milkweed plant, and saw a Monarch caterpillar perched in a nice position. By the time I got back with my gear, the caterpillar had munched its way into another position, a pretty awkward one for my tripod. I set up, and as I did, I found a second caterpillar on the ground, curled into this position. I picked it up with a grass blade, put it on a milkweed leaf, and took this image – and then put it back on the milkweed plant I had knocked it off. After a few minutes, it uncurled and wandered off on the milkweed plant. Whew.
Meanwhile, the first caterpillar was a new position:
It has eaten the top leaves and stem. Minutes later, it went underneath the leaf at the bottom of this image. In a few more minutes, a third of the leaf was gone. Both should be forming a chrysalis soon, if they don’t become bird food. In my area, Monarchs start to fly south in numbers starting the third week in September.
A bunch of white flowers of summer, with a few associates:
The caterpillar is the moth Camouflaged Looper (Synchlora aerata), one of the few caterpillars that attaches plant fragments to itself. The fragments aren’t from boneset, the hairlike filaments are from an aster. The hydrangea and the last flower (an annual Euphorbia species) are garden ornamentals.
A crab spider (a Misumena species) on the underside of a Black-eyed Susan:
The spider was waiting to pounce on a bee, and I was waiting for the spider to crawl to the upper side of the flower. After a while, I stopped waiting, and decided this image would be more interesting.
At this meadow, the Black-eyed Susan are starting to fade, and there’s an abundance of blue and white vervain:
There were dozens of honeybees and bumblebees busy at the vervain. White vervain is a new flower for me, I have to go back to photograph them again.
A few images of Black-eyed Susan, in full bloom in the last few weeks:
These were taken at two meadows, both primarily Black-eyed Susan. The meadows were planted (I don’t know who did it, but I’m grateful) with a mixture of hybrid and native Rudbeckia species. One them is next to a conservation area I’ve gone to for years, in a prominent open area. The other is planted in a fairly remote part of a powerline easement, with woods on either side. The powerline goes up a hill, and the flowers are planted in a broad swath next to a path that goes up the hill. The band of flowers goes up for hundreds of yards. I couldn’t believe it when I found it.