Sunday, November 9, 2008

Winged visitors, pretty and otherwise

Whenever I'm out watering the Wildscape, I always love to watch whatever's working alongside me. Like yesterday, I spotted a bee of some sort trying to get water out of the bird bath. I snapped a quick photo of it.

Later, I spotted another bee at a nearby birdbath and got some good closeups. After thumbing through my Field Guide to Common Texas Insects, I've concluded that my visitor is a southern yellowjacket (Vespula squamosa). What's more, according to the University of Florida's "Featured Creatures," this yellowjacket is a worker, not a male or queen. Biologists look at the abdomen's stripe markings.

On our lawn furniture, I spotted someone else enjoying the sunshine. Talk about shy! It took me some time and patience to get even this shot of a red admiral (Vanessa atalanta) sunbathing. I've always thought these were such pretty butterflies...

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