A Closer Look at Late Summer

Sometimes I need to saunter, camera in tow, with no particular destination or photographic agenda. My only serious goal is surviving attacks from biting insects, mosquitoes and deer flies in particular. The slow pace shifts my gaze from distant subjects to the detail landscapes in front of my nose.

I’ve been fascinated by Jewelweed or Touch-me-not forever. Morning dew on Jewelweed blossoms is a late summer event in macro world. A friend calls the plants “poppers” because, like many of us, she remembers squeezing and exploding the mature seed pods as a child. Eventually, I came to fully appreciate the late summer Jewelweed bloom when I watched hummingbirds feeding on the tubular flowers….fueling up just weeks before their lengthy migration.

Knapweed is in full bloom now, preceding the goldenrods and asters by several weeks. It’s a magnet for nectaring insects and adds a little spice to the monochromatic greens of a summer meadow.

Monarchs have been few and far between this summer (?), so I was thrilled to have this specimen pause long enough for a portrait!

A meadow hawk dragonfly at rest on an unopened knapweed flower bud, with knapweed blossoms as a backdrop.

Our common White Admiral, at rest on a spruce branch in morning sun after a crazy,  erratic flight around the yard.

Wild thistles deviate from the norm, flowering and fruiting simultaneously on the same plant. Goldfinch food!

Tiny frogs and toads are now exploring new territory, eating and trying to avoid being eaten. This little Wood Frog could rest comfortably on the end of your thumb.

Cottontails are everywhere this year. These daytime foragers are often seen together and lead me to think they are survivors from a litter that I started photographing in May. Scenes like this one, on my weedy sidewalk, are the main reason I stopped using commercial weed killer a long time ago.

Photos by NB Hunter (August, 2019). © All rights reserved.

6 thoughts on “A Closer Look at Late Summer

  1. I wanted to tell you how much I enjoy your blog. Originally from the Hudson Valley and now transplanted in KS on the prairie, your photos take me back home again. Last week in the background of one of your photos was a bit of a stone wall New England is noted for. Just seeing that little glimpse of years – gone – by gave my heart a tug. How I miss my mountains and forests, the silent pieces of history still standing as testimony to centuries gone by. And even if you built that wall, it still echoes the past.

    Thank you for the sweet memories. They are like a bit of fresh air.😊

  2. We seem to have a lot less butterflies this year. Likely a result of clearing out much of the invasive Himalaya Blackberry vines (nasty stuff!), but many of the critters did seem to like the flowers, berries and cover they provided. The milkweed I planted has had some patchy success. A few plants succumbed to our extra dry summer, despite my attempts to give them enough water to get established. The deer haven’t helped by nibbling on the new growth of newly planted native flowers or bushes. It seems to be a constant struggle here. Our bunnies (much smaller than your cottontails) appear to have disappeared- likely because of the loss of the blackberry thickets. It’s been fun watching the changes develop. We’ve been quite lucky with batches of baby swallows (violet-green), chickadees (both black capped and chestnut-backed), Allen’s and Anna’s hummingbirds… and the chipmunks that are a never ending delight to watch. Not to mention the transient visitors we get here at the house and down at the creek. Life is good! 🙂

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