Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Brown on yellow, what a fellow

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Fly on Navajo Tea Flower Head 0470

On a Navajo tea flower head (Thelesperma simplicifolium) I found this fly, which didn’t mind the close presence of my macro lens and stayed put while I took pictures. From the people at BugGuide.net I learned that this is a kind of syrphid fly, Copestylum avidum, and that the way the eyes touch at the top of the head signals that this one is a male. For a closeup of the insect’s compound eye, click the excerpt below.

Fly on Navajo Tea Flower Head 0470A

The date was April 8 and the place was the Doeskin Ranch section of the National Wildlife Refuge in Burnet County.

Update: BugGuide has also identified the nymph you saw three days ago as being a katydid in the subfamily Phaneropterinae:

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 24, 2016 at 5:19 AM

White larkspur flowers

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White Larkspur Flowers 0521

Shakespeare had his take on Hotspur, and on April 8 the Doeskin Ranch in Burnet County had its shot at larkspur, Delphinium carolinianum ssp. penardii. Marshall Enquist explains that there are four small petals in the center of each flower, with the lower two bearing the conspicuous hairs that you see here. The other five segments, including the purple-tinged spur, are sepals.

Wanna go back to what one of these flowers would have looked like in an earlier stage? Here’s your visual time machine:

White Larkspur Bud Opening 0502

Afterthought: you’ve had two hairy flowers in a row.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 23, 2016 at 5:03 AM

False nightshade, truly

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Chamaesaracha sordida 0606A

Making its debut here today is a smallish flower in the genus Chamaesaracha, whose members are known as false nightshade even though they are indeed in the nightshade family, Solanaceae. From what I can tell, this seems to be the species C. sordida.

I took this photograph at the Doeskin Ranch section of the Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge in Burnet County on April 8. For the next week you’ll be seeing pictures from my visit there.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 22, 2016 at 5:11 AM

Katydid nymph on prairie fleabane daisy

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Katydid nymph on Prairie Fleabane Daisy 0279

Prairie fleabane daisy = Erigeron modestus.

Place: Bluegrass Dr.

Date: April 4.

Update: BugGuide.net has identified this as a katydid in the subfamily Phaneropterinae

© Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 21, 2016 at 6:51 AM

Firewheel in motion

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Firewheel in Motion 0150

Gaillardia pulchella: firewheel, Indian blanket, blanket flower.

Lupinus texensis: Texas bluebonnet.

Shutter speed: 1/40 sec.

Movement: plenty.

Approach: experimental.

Place: Bluegrass Dr.

Date: April 4.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 20, 2016 at 5:15 AM

Damianita

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Damianita Flowers 0456

Damianita flowers normally form a broad, low, dense mound. That’s mostly how it was for the Chrysactinia mexicana plant I photographed on April 4th along Bluffstone Dr. Nevertheless, one branch of the plant rose abnormally high, so I was able to lie down and photograph the wayward sections in isolation.

Damianita Flowers from Below 0445

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 19, 2016 at 5:00 AM

The foreground becomes background

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Wild Garlic Bud by Cedar Sage Flowers 0230

The species that was the subject of the last post—Salvia roemeriana, cedar sage—served up its flowers on a different day in a different place as an amorphous but colorfully saturated background for a bud of wild garlic, Allium drummondii, that was beginning to open. Say April 4 along Bluegrass Dr. and you’ll have it right.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 18, 2016 at 4:59 AM

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