Readers’ wildlife photos

Today we have some nice insect and plant photos taken by Stephen Barnard in Idaho. His captions are indented:

A few photos from the wildflower field. I don’t know the species of the insects.

First, a Blue Flax (Linum lewisii) blossom. This plant visually dominates the garden (if you can call it a garden).

A bumblebee (Bombus sp.) in flight. Noticed how laden it is with nectar and pollen.

Three different flies. The last one is tiny, iridescent, and I think quite beautiful.

Finally, a small wasp preying on some sort of larva.

Another insect from the “garden”. Honeybee (Apis mellifera) on a wild rose.



  1. rickflick
    Posted June 25, 2017 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    Fine macro shots Stephen. My favorite would have to be the bumblebee which appears to be caught in flight.

  2. Posted June 25, 2017 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    Very nice!
    So… the bumblebee looks like [i]Bombus huntii[/i]. The first fly is actually another bee, looking like a Halictid bee. The large fly looks to be a flesh fly, but it would take a while to sort out since this is a large group.
    The lovely iridescent fly is a long-legged fly. These little predators are generally pretty hard to get close enough for pictures. Finally, the last wasp is one of the potter/mason wasps.

    • Stephen Barnard
      Posted June 25, 2017 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      Thanks for those IDs!

  3. Christopher
    Posted June 25, 2017 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    I think the humble bumble might be Bombus huntii (Green, 1860) and the metallic green fly is of the family Dolichopodidae, Condylostylus species. The first little bee on the yellow flower (salsify flower, Tragopagon sp. I think) may be a burrowing bee, one of the Andrena species, but that’s a wild stab in the dark. Not sure about the wasp. Nice pics. Love the Bombus huntii especially, as we don’t get them where I am in the Midwest.

    • Stephen Barnard
      Posted June 25, 2017 at 9:06 am | Permalink


  4. busterggi
    Posted June 25, 2017 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    I miss my honeybees & wild bees – after a good rebound in numbers last year this year has been terrible.

    • Christopher
      Posted June 25, 2017 at 9:34 am | Permalink

      We had a weird year here too, in Missouri. Warm winter, early warm spring, then a cool late spring and (relatively) cool summer. The bees and other insects my little garden usually attracts just didn’t materialize when the usually do and at just a fraction of the number. I’m positively thrilled to spot three bumbles at a time anymore. Smaller bee species and many flies (excepting the usual suspects for whom the dog crap is the favored feast) are almost completely absent, and to make matters worse, out of the 96 baby Carolina mantises I had from an ootheca I found, only one has stuck around and survived. Chafer beetles show no signs of letting up though, so that’s something I suppose.

  5. LDuke
    Posted June 25, 2017 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    An excellent guide to the 46 species of Bombus north of Mexico is “Bumble Bees of North America: An Identification Guide” printed by Princeton University Press. It contains both coloured photos and schematic diagrams of each species along with detailed descriptions of both the field marks and the microscopic characteristics needed to identify the queens, workers and males.

    A more general guide to all the families of bees is “The Bees in Your Backyard: A Guide to North America’s Bees” which takes identification down to the level of genus. It also contains a wealth of information of the life and habits of the various bee families.

  6. Jenny Haniver
    Posted June 25, 2017 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    Looking at these photos prompts me to ask if anybody can suggest an inexpensive, reliable, (I think the term is) “close focus” monocular (not for photographing, just for watching) that I can use to observe insects and other small thingies, from around, say, two or three feet away to six or eight feet or more? I see quite a few online, but have no real idea what the specs mean. Most of what I find are for hunting.

    • Denny
      Posted June 25, 2017 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

      Pentax Papilio II, either the 6.5×21 or 8.5 x21 version. The lower magnification has a wider fiel of view, better if your main interest is flowers & insects. The higher power better for birds. Either is an excellent choice, will focus as close as 18″. $114 or 139 at Amazon.


      • Jenny Haniver
        Posted June 25, 2017 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

        Thank you for this. Yes, my interests is mainly insects and tiny things. This sounds great, but when I said inexpensive, I meant cheap. Maybe I can take the specs and find something comparable that’s more in a price range for the impecunious — or save up.

  7. Posted June 25, 2017 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    I feel for the poor little larva.

    • rickflick
      Posted June 25, 2017 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

      Don’t fret. Larva don’t have souls.

  8. Mark R.
    Posted June 25, 2017 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    Nice to see some macro shots from you Stephen…looking at the ground instead of the air. 🙂

  9. Tony Eales
    Posted June 25, 2017 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    As an Australian I’m not really qualified to pronounce on these North american insects but to me the little bee after the bumble bee looks a bit like the Genus Ceratina or Small Carpenter Bee could also be a Halictid bee. This site provides a nice overview

  10. Posted June 27, 2017 at 2:48 am | Permalink

    Glad I caught up with these, thanks, very nice

  11. Posted June 27, 2017 at 3:45 am | Permalink


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