09/12/16

Late Summer Flowers

Late Summer Flowers

The Earth Laughs with Flowers ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Late summer flowers in the Middle Rio Grande Valley of New Mexico are magnificent.

late summer flowers

Cosmos in Corrales

Visiting with friends Tim and Laurie is always fun. Visits usually include Tim and I photographing, and Laurie sketching. This weekend was no different. Our “photographic expeditions and excursions” are on temporary hold. However, we make the most of what is locally available. Their property always has great photo ops, but their Lively Meadow is especially lively in late summer.

A forest of sunflowers greets the arriving visitor. As I was driving into Corrales, I almost stopped to photograph some sunflowers growing along the highway. I laughed at myself as I drove into their property. I was also glad I did not stop along the highway!

late summer flowers

Sunflowers

The tall sunflowers provide a natural backdrop for the cosmos.

late summer flowers

Sunflowers and Cosmos

Cosmos are a riot of color. The little blue flowers are morning glories.

late summer flowers

Colorful Cosmos

Laurie sketched while Tim and I photographed.

late summer flowers

Laurie Sketching

Later, as we always do, we went back to the house and deck.

Tim and Spunk:

man and cat

Tim and Spunk

On the deck and outdoor kitchen:

man hat coffee

Tim Relaxing

woman

Laurie

I don’t know how or why, but something a little special and always unpredictable seems to appear at just the right time. I love this beautiful, sparkly little damsel fly that visited the butterfly bush as we were enjoying conversation on the deck.

damsel fly

Damsel Fly

A beautiful late summer day with friends and flowers.

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07/26/16
Sunflower and Bee

Sunflower and BIG Bee

Sunflower and BIG Bee

Update from Baldo Villegas, regarding identification:

this is not a carpenter bee. This is an anthophorid bee. This group of bees are famous for pollinating sunflowers. The males have longer antennae than the females and this is usually how I recognize them right away. Unfortunately, I can’t see the antennae from the picture so my guess is that it is a female.

I’ll be working to get a better image showing the antennae!
Thank you, Baldo!

Sunflower and big bee, and a beautiful blue New Mexico sky! I was out photographing goldfinches playing on the spent sunflowers and cosmos, enjoying the seeds and showing it. This time of year I see a lot of pollinators on most of the flowers in the yards, buzzing around, very busily. Sometimes I specifically photograph them. But, this particular day I was focusing on the goldfinches.

As I sat on my porch enjoying a quiet afternoon, I saw what, at least from a distance, appeared to be a HUGE bee. I’m used to the black and yellow “bumble bees,” and the smaller brown and yellow bees. But this had the appearance of a brown and yellow bee, but very large, and spending a lot of time working a sunflower. Finally, I had to investigate more closely, even though I knew the birds would fly, at least for a bit.

Sunflower and Big Bee

Sunflower and Large Bee

Sunflower and Big Bee

Sunflower and Large Bee

As you can see, this was, indeed, a very large bee. And, it had been very busy! It was covered with pollen it had collected from the sunflower. I think it may be a male carpenter bee, although I need to check this identification.

Under any circumstances, it was a new bee for me, and certainly caught my eye even though I thought I would focus on birds that particular day.

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07/8/15

Sunflowers and Birds

Sunflowers and birds of all kinds go together naturally and beautifully. Several years ago some “volunteers” came up from the seeds I had been feeding. The birds loved the fresh seeds that formed when those flowers finished blooming! The goldfinches preferred them over the expensive nyger seed. The house finches love them, and the doves hang around under the flowers waiting for the other birds to drop an occasional seed. Since that first year of volunteers, I plant sunflowers each year. Although I always intend to plant them right after average frost-free date, some years I don’t get them planted until mid-summer, giving me and the birds flowers and seeds in the autumn. This year I got them planted early, and the flowers have peaked and the birds are enjoying the seeds. Within the next couple of weeks I’ll be removing the spent ones, and resowing seeds for a second bloom in fall. While this past Fourth of July weekend was an extremely busy one, I did make time to relax one afternoon and photograph some of the birds enjoying the sunflower seeds.

sunflowers and goldfinch

Male Goldfinch

Sunflowers and Birds

Male Goldfinch

sunflowers and birds

Male Goldfinch Taking Flight

Sunflowers and Birds

Male Goldfinch

Sunflowers and Birds

Male and Female Goldfinches

sunflowers and birds

Male and Female Goldfinches

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