Lens Artists Challenge #225: Wildlife Close to Home

This week, Anne leads the photo challenge with “Wildlife Close to Home”: “Stop. Look. Listen. Doing those three things will help you discover the abundance of wildlife you have nearby.” I stop, look, and listen a lot on my walks in the hood and even in my own backyard. 

You might recall that my husband gave loaned me his Lumix GX85. So far I’ve been pretty pleased with the quality of photos I’m getting. As always, my favorite subject: the humble bumblebee.

We’re making an effort to attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds to our little slice of suburbia. The following photo shows a shrimp plant that, on any given day, will have two or three bees slipping in and around its flowers. I am utterly amazed by this plant. It wasn’t blooming at all the first couple of months. I transplanted it during that time, but still no blooms. Finally, I moved it to a much bigger pot and now I have 20-30 blooms on it!

Shrimp plant. Looks good enough to eat!

There are wilder places than our backyard. One of my favorites is St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge. We went out there this past Monday (a gorgeous, cool, sunny day) on our bicycles. We took a break at one of the two concrete bridges that we cross over. We delighted in the spectacle of a number of insects enjoying the yellow centers of the Climbing Aster. 

This here is a type of bee making hay with a Climbing Aster. Taken with my iPhone 8 Plus.

I really struggled to get a good shot of the bees (they were moving too fast). Here’s a photo with just the flower so you can see how pretty they are.

Climbing Aster. This one I took with the Lumix GX85.

The refuge would not be a refuge without an alligator. We found this one “dozing” at the first concrete bridge we crossed. When we came back this way a few hours later, he/she/they were still there. The day wasn’t too cold, but cool enough for the alligator to go into a kind of stupor. Still, I was more than happy to stay on the bridge and just admire it.

Alligator doing what alligators do when they’re on the chilly side. (Taken with my iPhone 8 Plus)

Now for a change of pace. Several months ago we went to Mashes Sands Beach, a funky strip of sand along an estuary. I love going there because there’s always something interesting to see. On this day, I was playing with my old Canon T3i and a telescopic lens. This is an osprey on the hunt.

Osprey on the hunt. Taken with a Canon T3i and telescopic lens.

Last, but never least, one of my favorites from springtime at the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge: the bum of a bumblebee as it tears through a thistle.

Bum of a bumblebee on a thistle.

Thank you for visiting!

If you care to join in the fun, remember to tag your post with Lens-Artists and make a link to Anne’s post.



22 thoughts on “Lens Artists Challenge #225: Wildlife Close to Home

  1. Marvelous photographs, Marie! (We have a neighbor who does scientific work with bees. I was vey disappointed to learn that all the honeybees we see locally—though in recent years almost none—are non-native.)

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  2. Wonderful photos, Marie. I can never get good shots of bees, but they do love aster! Love that osprey (of course). I’m not sure that I’ve seen one up close. Though I’ve seen them flying.

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    1. Thank you, Merril! I’ve never seen an osprey up close either. The telescopic lens I used is very strong (my husband is quite proud of it). I was some distance below the osprey so I’m really pleased with how that photo came out (I took a lot more, but, eh, deleted most of them ;-)).

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  3. The refuge looks like a great place to watch the day away. I love the story and your diligence in nurturing the shrimp plant. Its a win-win, for the bees, and for you.

    Always interesting to see alligators in peoples spaces. Nice collection.

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