The Bug Days of Summer

As we edge into September, it seems the dog days of summer may be behind us. In Ottawa, this is when I start to get edgy. For someone with seasonal instincts honed in Alberta, the trees are still too green, the flowers still too flowery. It isn’t that I want autumn to be upon us, exactly, but it feels like waiting for the other shoe to drop.

So, out in the country for lunch one day last week, it was nice to see fully formed sunflowers, which at least suggests the end of the growing season. And it was nice of the property owner to invite me around the split-rail fence to stand with my back to the sun.

3-photo collage of sunflowers

Back at home, the embarrassingly named hydrangea is obviously tuned for this climate, just now coming into full fragrant flower, happily attracting bees and an insect that looks like a wasp. And may even be one.

The game with bees is to try to catch one in mid-air and in strong enough sunlight to freeze the wing motion. Bees, it turns out, usually feed in the slight shade afforded by a bit of leaf or petal cover. Are they hiding from predators? Dunno.

Bee hovering in mid-air

As for the wasp-like insects, they fly around as if they’re blind, bumping into flowers, leaves, and each other. The game here is to catch them in full sunlight but fully still. Based on my photo record this week, it’s a worthy game.

Isabel: 2
Wasp-like insects: 126

2-phoot collage of nectar-sucking wasp

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6 Responses to The Bug Days of Summer

  1. Tom Watson says:

    I’m thinking about this statement: “The game with bees is to try to catch one in mid-air.” More power to ya if you want to get that close. Maybe this is why I never took up serious photography – getting that close to any member of the genus Vespa ain’t for this kid. When it comes to those creatures, the heroes in my family died out about three generations ago.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Tom – Well, I use a zoom lens, so I’m not *that* close. 🙂 I did try a macro (short) lens for the wasp-like guy, but they seem to sense my movement over them, which defeats the purpose.

  2. Great photos! I agree that telephoto works better with bugs.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Judith – Thanks! And I admit I’ve been warned off the macro for wildlife shots before. 🙂 For sure there was no chance of using it with the bees, which for all their apparent bumbling seemed able to stay well away from me.

  3. Jim Robertson says:

    Nice BIF Isabel (Bee in flight, not bird in flight)

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