Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Syrphid fly on buttercup

with 36 comments

Tiny Syrphid Fly on Buttercup 3680

In several places at McKinney Falls State Park on March 13th I found flowering buttercups, Ranunculus spp., and on this one a syrphid fly only about a quarter of an inch (6mm) long. That’s one tiny fly.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 7, 2014 at 5:58 AM

36 Responses

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  1. Now that’s what I call a ‘macro’!

    Stephen G. Hipperson

    April 7, 2014 at 6:02 AM

  2. Are you shooting at 1:1 or nearly so … cropping … or shooting beyond 1:1 with some sort of additional glass. Talk about extreme! D

    PS: The Crocus was the result of your influence … did you see it?

    Pairodox Farm

    April 7, 2014 at 6:11 AM

    • My 100mm macro lens allows a maximum of 1:1 on the full-frame camera I’m using. That still didn’t get me as close as I wanted, so I cropped the picture to produce the version shown here. I plan to experiment with an extension tube so I can focus closer, although that would mean the lens couldn’t also focus to infinity while the extension tube is attached.

      I have seen the picture of the crocus, and I noticed that you got more than the average number of “like”s on it. Thanks for the homage, and happy spring wildflowers to you. (We didn’t get above the low 50s here yesterday, which is 20 degrees below average here for this time of year.)

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 7, 2014 at 7:38 AM

  3. Wunderschön ♥


    April 7, 2014 at 6:19 AM

  4. I have this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phacelia_tanacetifolia (or something very similar) in my garden because the bees love it, as do the hoverflies http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pollinators_in_New_Zealand The hoverflies that I see/notice are a little bigger than the one on your buttercup.


    April 7, 2014 at 6:21 AM

    • Hoverflies of any size are a treat for the eyes.

      I checked the species distribution map and found that Phacelia tanacetifolia, which I wasn’t familiar with, doesn’t grow anywhere in Texas. Here in Austin we do, however, have Phacelia congesta, which I featured a couple of years ago:


      In addition to the descriptive blue curls, a colloquial name for it is caterpillars.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 7, 2014 at 7:57 AM

      • Phacelia congesta is very caterpillar like where it curls. My phacelia is definitely more purple than blue. I have read somewhere, (not helpful, I know), that the only pure blue flower is the flax (linseed) flower.


        April 7, 2014 at 8:32 AM

        • I’ll have to say that the statement “the only pure blue flower is the flax (linseed) flower” can’t be correct. It’s a question of language and human vision more than of botany. Each language divides up the color spectrum in distinctive ways. For example, where English says blue, Russian splits that broader category into two mutually exclusive parts: lighter blues are called goluboy and darker blues siniy.

          Whatever categories a language uses in general, individuals draw the color boundaries in idiosyncratic ways. I’ve noticed that many flowers with blue in their name strike me as violet rather than blue, although somebody (or many somebodies) must have seen them as blue for the flowers to get and retain those names. I’ve mentioned that from time to time in relevant posts. For example, take a look at


          and see what color name you’d use for those flowers.

          Steve Schwartzman

          April 7, 2014 at 10:06 AM

        • Oh, and coming back to the question of the flax flower being pure blue, since each color word covers a range of optical frequencies, no single frequency could be called the one and only pure one for that color.

          Steve Schwartzman

          April 7, 2014 at 10:09 AM

  5. Such a beautiful close up of a tiny bloom.


    April 7, 2014 at 6:41 AM

  6. Great macro 🙂

    Jos Reimering

    April 7, 2014 at 6:44 AM

  7. Now this has brightened my day 🙂


    April 7, 2014 at 12:16 PM

  8. Stunning! Magnificent capture. 😀

    Raewyn's Photos

    April 7, 2014 at 1:02 PM

  9. that’s one happy fly.


    April 7, 2014 at 9:25 PM

  10. This is my favorite so far – what an amazing capture. The detail in this photograph is amazing.

    Thanks for sharing!


    Miss Lou

    April 10, 2014 at 10:17 AM

  11. Somewhere on our blog, and I can’t find where, I said that I would share a photo of the flowers that blanketed the Avery area like carpet this spring. Here’s a link to the photo, mixed with blue-eyed grass:

    I think it’s buttercup.


    July 26, 2015 at 10:01 AM

    • It certainly looks like a buttercup of some sort. There are various species even in the Austin area and I have a hard time telling them apart. I’ve also learned that people who grew up in Texas often use the name buttercup when speaking of a pink evening primrose, which is a different genus in the family.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 26, 2015 at 11:35 AM

  12. […] in Alberta’s Waterton Lakes National Park on August 29, 2017, I knew from the resemblance to native buttercups in Austin that I was looking at a relative. A little research has led me to believe that the flower in […]

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