My adventures in the woods, streams, rivers, fields, and lakes of Michigan

Catching up after my vacation, Part III

It’s hard for me to believe that I’ve been back to work for almost three weeks after my vacation. I’ve kept busy taking photos since I’ve been back, maybe too busy.

It’s even harder for me to believe that I’ve got so many photos saved, even though I’m trying to control myself and only post one or two of any one subject. But, it’s summer, even if it isn’t official by the calendar yet, and there are new flowers popping up everywhere I look.

I’ve been trying to learn the names of flowers, but that isn’t an easy thing to do I’m finding out. Not only are many species of flowers virtually identical to other species, but there may be two or more species with the same common name, making things even tougher.

I’m also trying to learn the habits of the flowers in order to get the best photos, which may sound strange, but let me explain. When some species of flowers first appear, the very first specimens to open may the very best examples of that species. But with other species, the very first specimens to open may be poor subjects compared to later ones when they open. I’ve been burned a couple of times by waiting to photograph a species until the plant gets to full bloom, but by that time, the individual flowers aren’t that appealing.

Then, there are the times when the flowers are actually open. Some species, like this Atlantic blue-eyed grass…

Atlantic blue-eyed grass

Atlantic blue-eyed grass

Atlantic blue-eyed grass

Atlantic blue-eyed grass

…only open on sunny afternoons.

Other species, like this goat’s beard, open in the morning and are almost closed by noon.

Goat's beard

Goat’s beard

By the way, that’s actually Tragopogon dubius, or western salsify, but it shares a common name, goat’s beard, with an entirely different species of flower.

So, I’ll may see a flower on my way to the park and think that I’ll shoot photos on my way back home when the light is better, only to find that the flowers have closed by then. Or, I’ll see flowers on my way back home that I know weren’t open on my way past them the first time. And I thought birds were tough!

Then, there’s getting the exposure correct. With my Canon 60 D bodies, there are huge differences in the exposures, depending on if I use partial spot metering like I do for birds, or center-weighted or evaluative as I do with landscapes. And, not all species of flowers of the same color require the same exposure adjustments. For example, some white flowers look best at -1/3 EV, while others require -1 1/3 EV to bring out their best, when using partial spot metering.

I could prattle on more, but I think that it’s time for some photos, for most of them, the caption is all the description needed.

Petunia

Petunia

Eastern tiger swallowtail

Eastern tiger swallowtail

Flea bane?

Flea bane?

Flowering grass

Flowering grass

Textures and colors

Textures and colors

Crown vetch

Crown vetch

Sweet pea

Sweet pea

Butterfly on sweet pea

Butterfly on sweet pea

Butterfly on sweet pea

Butterfly on sweet pea

Hairy vetch

Hairy vetch

Hairy vetch

Hairy vetch

I think that this next image is of an azalea, but I’m not sure. The “bush” is close to twenty feet tall, but it’s in some one’s yard, and I can’t get close enough for a truly good photo. I love the colors of the flowers though, so I have to include it. I’ve seen one other like this, while driving for work, and it is also a very large bush or small tree. Whatever they are, I’m surprised that they aren’t more popular than they are, I’d have one in my yard if I had a yard.

Azalea?

Beauty bush

Bumblebee

Bumblebee

Unknown

Ground ivy or Creeping Charlie

English plantain

English plantain

Flowering grass

Flowering grass

Red clover

Red clover

Sulfur cinquefoil

Sulfur cinquefoil

Six spotted tiger beetle

Six spotted tiger beetle

Six spotted tiger beetle

Six spotted tiger beetle

You’ve heard of Angry Birds, here’s a new game in the making, happy birds. 😉

Happy

Happy

Dragonfly

Dragonfly

I sure wish that I could catch this guy singing a little closer, but he’s very wary of me, and every one else.

Brown thrasher singing

Brown thrasher singing

Brown thrasher singing

Brown thrasher singing

That goes for this guy too. I know the photo isn’t that good, but it’s an alder flycatcher singing its head off.

Alder flycatcher singing

Alder flycatcher singing

That is, if you call the sounds that the flycatcher makes singing. It sounds more like an insect. I have to give this guy kudos for being persistent though, he’s been singing away like that for two to three weeks now, I sure hope that the female that I’ve seen once sticks around. I missed a photo of her, so it’s back to butterflies and flowers.

Butterfly

Butterfly

Caterpillar

Caterpillar

Grey catbird

Grey catbird

Bee on red clover

Bee on red clover

Look closely at this next one, and you can see a red-winged blackbird perched on the hawk’s back, and helping the hawk out in its molt by removing a few feathers. 😉

Red-winged blackbird hawk surfing

Red-winged blackbird hawk surfing

Some of you may remember Fred the friendly fox squirrel from this past winter. Well, Fred is really Fredericka, and she’s been busy raising a litter of young, so I haven’t seen her very often. She’s keeping the young back in the woods and out of sight, but I did catch her visiting one of her favorite trees to give it a hug, since she obviously missed it. 😉

The ultimate tree hugger

The ultimate tree hugger

Bumblebee

Bumblebee

Buttercup?

Buttercup?

Iris

Iris

Unknown

Unknown

Bee on Unknown

Bee on Unknown

Well, that about wraps this one up. I still have photos from Reed’s Lake and Lost Lake to take care of, and I guess that I’m still a week behind as far as photos from around here. I was hoping to be all caught up by now, as I’m returning to Lost Lake one day this weekend. Hopefully, I’ll find a few of the rare species of flowers open this time, I was too early the last time that I was there. And, some of the photos from this week will get deleted, when I get better photos of the flowers that I shot in rather poor light this past week.

That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!

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26 responses

  1. The azalea? doesn’t look like any of the many ones we have out here… can’t offer any alternative though. Your unknown looks a lot like something that volunteered in my backyard and if you find out what it is, I’d love to know… http://wp.me/pXX8J-2D3

    June 13, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    • Sorry, I can’t help you out, your “volunteer” has similar flowers, but the leaves are completely different.

      June 14, 2014 at 3:23 am

      • You’re right. I did a side-by-side comparison and the leaves are quite different, so my rather nice volunteer plant remains a mystery. I’m also thinking I shouldn’t have rushed to judgement on the azalea…. I’ve never seen such a thick clump of buds mixed in with the opened flowers, but that doesn’t eliminate it as being a slight variation of what I’m used to seeing. I didn’t post any shots of mine when it bloomed because they’re so common around here (and bloomed months ago).

        June 14, 2014 at 6:37 pm

      • Well, what I thought was an azalea is really a beauty bush, a bush originally from China. But, thanks for the help.

        June 14, 2014 at 6:41 pm

      • 😮 apparently my “help” ain’t worth much in this case, but I tried 😀

        June 14, 2014 at 6:46 pm

  2. I just love this time of year when the flowers are blossoming, birds are chirping, and squirrels are scurrying…..great captures 🙂

    June 13, 2014 at 4:44 pm

    • Thanks Ingrid!

      June 14, 2014 at 3:24 am

  3. Welcome to my world, Jerry. I keep telling myself that at least flowers don’t fly away. Right now there’s a bird in the neighborhood singing constantly. I call it the heebie jeebie bird because it sounds like it’s saying heebie jeebie jeebie over and over, all day long. I have no clue what it actually is because I can’t see it.
    The azalea? is actually called beauty bush (Kolkwitzia amabilis), which is a fast growing deciduous shrub. The unknown purple flower looks like ground ivy to me (Glechoma hederacea). It would have been very low growing if it is. The last unknown white flowers look they could be either spirea or viburnum, but I’m not sure.
    You did a good job with identifications, I thought. Most people wouldn’t have gotten the English plantain.
    When you talked about Fred / Frederica I realized that I had never seen a baby squirrel.

    June 13, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    • Thanks Allen! Flowers may not fly away, but they can move faster than birds when the wind is right. (or wrong, depending on your point of view) I was trying to shoot a flower today, and was photo bombed by a soapwort that blew in front of the flower I was going for.

      But, flowers make no sounds, I often find birds by tracking down where the song is coming from, and their songs are a big help in identifying them.

      I think that you’re right about the purple flowers, ground ivy, as I shot more today, and looked them up.

      The white flowers are from a plant, not a bush, almost two feet tall, with lacy leaves, which I meant to get a photo of, the leaves are almost as interesting as the flowers.

      I’ve seen a few young squirrels but not many, they stay well hidden.

      June 14, 2014 at 3:35 am

      • In that case it’s probably yarrow (Achillea millefolium). Though you don’t see them on the blog I often get shots of leaves, stems, etc. to help with an ID.

        June 14, 2014 at 8:04 am

  4. The white flowers do look like spirea flowers to me as well. You have taken some really sharp pictures of flowers but I think that I liked the butterfly best.

    June 13, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    • Thanks Tom!

      June 14, 2014 at 3:24 am

  5. Such a lot of interesting information and I loved the first butterfly picture.

    June 14, 2014 at 3:08 am

    • Thanks Susan, I’d like to catch one of those butterflies in good light, maybe some day.

      June 14, 2014 at 3:25 am

  6. More beautiful shots – thank-you! I’m probably wrong but the white unknown flower looks to me like Yarrow / Achillea. The leaves are feathery or fern-like though.

    June 14, 2014 at 5:58 am

  7. Nenkin Seikatsu

    I recognized the petunia!

    June 14, 2014 at 7:44 pm

    • Thanks! There are times these days when I’m not sure that what I think is a petunia is really a petunia.

      June 14, 2014 at 7:46 pm

  8. Really lovely images!

    June 14, 2014 at 10:15 pm

    • Thank you Peggy!

      June 14, 2014 at 10:18 pm

  9. I’m really enjoying all your flower photos, Jerry! They are getting more and more sharp all the time!

    June 16, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    • Thanks! I’m continuing to learn how to get the best from my equipment, little by little with each photo.

      June 17, 2014 at 2:30 am

  10. That red-winged blackbird looks like he was on a mission!!! Also, great to see so many bees in action! Thx for sharing!

    June 17, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    • Thank you!

      June 18, 2014 at 2:50 am

  11. FANTASTIC red wing blackbird hawk surfing. That must have been thrilling to watch!

    June 19, 2014 at 9:59 pm

    • Thanks! However, it is getting to be rather old hat, as the blackbirds chase every large bird that comes along, and the hawks nest across the road from the park.

      June 20, 2014 at 2:10 am

      • Was it you who mentioned red winged blackbirds going after a deer? May that never become old hat!

        June 20, 2014 at 9:14 am