Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Furry bee on cowpen daisy

with 28 comments

Furry Bee on Cowpen Daisy 1882

Even after three-and-a-half years I still occasionally show you species that haven’t appeared here before. That’s true of this furry bee, which I don’t know how to identify, as well as the flower head it’s on, which is a cowpen daisy, Verbesina encelioides. If the genus sounds familiar, it’s because frostweed, which you’ve recently seen here with a hover fly on it and doing its ice trick, is Verbesina virginica. To my untrained eyes the two species don’t look much alike, but I’ll have to defer to botanists on that.

I took this picture on October 28th in Guerrero Colorado River Park, a location that also makes its debut here today.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 27, 2014 at 5:18 AM

28 Responses

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  1. Just beautiful and so important in nature.


    November 27, 2014 at 5:33 AM

    • Before Europeans introduced honey bees to the Americas, many kinds of native bees and other insects carried out the necessary pollination. They still do.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 27, 2014 at 5:48 AM

  2. Well done, Steve. The way things are going, we’ll need a good deal more of those other bees to replace the disappearing Apis mellifera.

    Steve Gingold

    November 27, 2014 at 7:16 AM

    • Thanks, Steve. This bee did its work awfully quickly and kept moving from flower to flower. I set a shutter speed of 1/640 sec. to freeze the action but even then most of the pictures didn’t come out because there was hardly time to focus before the bee was off again. This was one of the few images where the focus was good.

      If it’s any consolation, I often see many species of native insects on flowers.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 27, 2014 at 7:26 AM

      • I do also, but they just aren’t the workhorses of the honey bees. My favorites, and possibly yours also, are the hover flies…..oh, maybe the butterflies or some moths. Hard to choose, but I prefer the honey bees continue to carry the bulk of the work load.

        Steve Gingold

        November 27, 2014 at 7:30 AM

  3. Nice furry little guy. Could it be Bombus Mixtus. They are common in the western state meadows.

    Happy Thanksgiving.

    Jim in IA

    November 27, 2014 at 7:25 AM

    • My initial reaction was bumblebee, but I know so little about insects that I second-guessed myself and wasn’t sure. This bee didn’t make any buzzing noise. but I guess bumblebees aren’t obligated to perform for us.

      The buzz on the street is that you’re going to have a happy Thanksgiving.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 27, 2014 at 7:39 AM

  4. Steve I was going to ask you if you’re using the new 100mm L weatherproof lens, or did you stay with the old model. This is an upgrade I’ve been meaning to do, and if you did, did you notice a big difference?

    Maria F.

    November 27, 2014 at 9:21 AM

    • Hi, Maria. Yes, years ago I upgraded from the previous version to the L version, which among other things added image stabilization. The stabilization does the most good when the lens is focused on something in the distance, and the advantage of the stabilization decreases as the focusing becomes more and more macro, which is how I usually use the lens. I’m almost never out in inclement weather, so the sealing doesn’t much matter for me, but it might for you in a tropical country. Then too, the optical quality of the new lens is supposed to be better than that of the old; it ought to be, at twice the price.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 27, 2014 at 9:42 AM

  5. A fuzzy bee to cheer our Thanksgiving! I am thankful for fuzzy bees and new flowers to see.
    I really like the background on this.


    November 27, 2014 at 9:51 AM

    • Don’t forget to be thankful for fuzzy photographers as well as fuzzy bees and new species of wildflowers.

      I don’t think I noticed the background in this set of pictures because I was so intent on trying to get a decent (i.e. not blurred) photo of the bee, but now that you’ve mentioned it I agree that its neutrality is a net plus. That must be the net neutrality I hear people talking about on the news.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 27, 2014 at 9:59 AM

  6. Stunning capture. 😀

    Raewyn's Photos

    November 27, 2014 at 1:16 PM

    • I’d say better stun than stung.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 27, 2014 at 1:27 PM

      • Thank goodness for zooms. 😀

        Raewyn's Photos

        November 27, 2014 at 1:28 PM

        • Actually I used my macro lens and got in fairly close. It may seem foolhardy, but I rarely worry about stinging insects; I figure I’m not out to hurt them so they won’t bother me, and we’ll both go on about our business. That attitude has worked quite well.

          Steve Schwartzman

          November 27, 2014 at 1:34 PM

          • I use my zoom as I am allergic to bees. I agree with you. If you don’t annoy them and let them go about their business they will ignore you. 😀

            Raewyn's Photos

            November 27, 2014 at 1:36 PM

  7. Stunning! I love the detail on the bee. 🙂


    November 28, 2014 at 3:39 AM

    • Me too, though I struggled to record it because of the bee’s quick and frequent movements.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 28, 2014 at 5:12 AM

  8. Lovely pictures. I love the color that you are able to capture. Have you heard of the book Reclaiming the Wild Soul, by author Mary Reynolds Thompson? http://maryreynoldsthompson.com/ We discover a new way to experience our inner nature, as mirrored to us by the fierce beauty and challenges of Earth’s great landscapes/soulscapes of deserts, forests, oceans and rivers, mountains, and grasslands.

    Lauren Smith

    November 29, 2014 at 1:39 AM

    • Thanks. In earlier decades I worked mostly with black and white photography, but since I made nature the focus of my work in 1999, I’ve been enamored of color. In fact the post that appeared a few minutes ago begins a tribute to the fall foliage, so since you’re fond of color too, you may want to check back here over the next couple of weeks.

      After following your link, I’m fairly sure I hadn’t heard about Mary Reynolds Smith. I’m all for the equivalence of landscapes and soulscapes.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 29, 2014 at 5:27 AM

      • Your color truly is amazing. I will keep following your blog. The book written by Mary Reynolds Smith is a great book. I have enjoyed it.

        Robert Jones

        December 3, 2014 at 7:08 PM

  9. Great photo!


    December 1, 2014 at 5:29 PM

  10. […] once before has Verbesina encelioides appeared in these pages. Does the genus name sound familiar? Perhaps […]

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