Small pearl crescent
adjusts orange wings
while she pulls nectar up from
the disk of little daisy fleabane.
So beauty feeds you
and I and butterfly.
A suddenly rare monarch butterfly
honors my yard.
Last year dozens, this year three.
All the big butterflies
Generations of butterflies,
monarchs, admirals gone,
slaughtered by genetically modified
But we will have corn syrup for our obesity
and we’ll have ethanol for our cars,
while Monsanto stockholders
grin above their jowls
and our children lose the magic
bequeathed them by the Earth
since ever human eyes opened.
Their eyes will be less bright
and they will not know it.
Note:Please follow this link:
This is a link to Robert Michael Pyle’s concept of The Extinction of Experience, in downloadable PDF format. Pass it on.
Bumblebee feeds on marsh milkweed nectar
then carries its pollen plant to plant
in the old crisscross of pollination.
As bees steady stance to dip tongues
into sweets, fuzzy legs slip into flower slots
so when drinking’s done and the legs pull out,
twin orange pollen bags are glued to each leg.
The crisscross happens when legs slip into
flower slots on a new marsh milkweed.
The pollen bags pull off the bee leg,
hook up with the new plant’s stigma,
pollen tubes race down to the ovary
and Improbable cross-pollination repeats.
A sunbather stretches out on grass seed
stunning in electric blue and black.
The Familiar Bluet is here not for a tan,
nor for admirers of his long splendor,
for he quietly hunts unwary little fliers
that may find themselves held
in a sudden cage of spurred legs.
Note:The silence of insect hunting is an unsettling gift.
A small mating on green liverwort between
eastern tailed blue butterflies.
These little blues gather in this season
and fly like crazed angels as they sort into pairs,
blue and bright flashing in the dance.
Finally settled in modest mating stance,
they offer paired orange eyespots,
big black eyes and dot dash dot antennae.
Grateful, I take one photo and give privacy.
A late-season Halloween Pennant
dragon rests on a knapweed bud.
Flamboyant wings parade butterfly
intentions to the willing eye, a fine
diversion in this year of lost butterflies.
River Jewelwing damselfly shows off fluorescent greens
as he rests between courtship flights.
The pretty female he woos perches at rest while he
flutter-flies before a good stem for laying eggs,
then dances neon before her ‘til she mates or leaves.
If she does mate, she walks down a submersed stem
and deposits her eggs into the stem a foot below.
Their naiads will hunt river bottom for two years
before seeking sun and these striking shades of green.
Pileated woodpecker nestlings
demand food from a parent. Now!
Growing up in a hole in a tree
seems an old folk tale, surely
with magic somewhere in the story.
The old bare cottonwood
did not mind two woodpecker beaks
hammering, hammering until
the nest was hollowed deep enough
for the whole red magic family to fit.
Soft woodflakes line the floor
where four large eggs rested.
As in all stories true, insistent
new life replaces the old and bare.
Note: I have broken my practice. Until today, all Morning Earth daily photos (except INVITES) have been mine. This photo I love of birds I cherish was made by my friend Diego Vazquez, taken before we two old fools slogged through wet meadows to the nest tree so I could take my own. But the birds slept through our slog, uncaring. Thank you, Diego.
A magenta lily in my garden feeds
a hungry tiger swallowtail,
the first this season.
I pray he finds a mate.
Such a bold confluence of colors!
Mother Nature not only makes colors fit,
she makes them together rejoice.
A young white-faced meadowhawk
shines her face upon the lily bud perch
where she holds her wings demurely,
as if her eyes were cast down
instead of alert for small flies
as her huge eyes surely are.
How is it that such predators
persuade us of their beauty?
A wood duck family races through
pond duckweed, the wide white
around Mom’s eye perfect for panic.
If sprinting ducklings did not so charm
I might wish I’d not alarmed,
but they need this practice of the wild,
they need to learn that we must be feared.
A new Gray Hairstreak
rests on a turtlehead leaf.
“Gray” sounds drab, far from truth.
On the antennae, gold tips finish
the festive black-white-black,
mirrored each leg.
The orange eyespot with blue below.
White-edged punctuation on this female’s
underwings of fawn. I retire Gray.
I dub thee Hairstreak Fawn.
Note: Fawn is but a half-inch long.
A hummingbird clearwing moth
zooms from flower to flower
searching out remnant nectar
in a worn monarda patch.
The moth’s search is so quick
that flowerheads bouncing
in its wake signal its presence
in the absence of hum.
A small digger bee
dusted ghost white
with ironweed pollen
while feasting on nectar,
the brushes on its legs
become white pom-poms.
A tiger lily bud catches my eye
as it reveals just a bit of its beauty.
Something alluring happens
with beauty as it just opens,
Is it in the flower or is it in my eye?
Black-Eyed Susan’s ray flowers
are perfectly pleated.
Tree Frog waits at her center
legs tucked away, eyes wide,
green skin pretending.
“Don’t worry about me, fly.
I’m just a bit of leaf.”
This Black Firefly won’t wink at you tonight.
He only flies in daylight.
When he was a larva, and felt a touch,
his tail end glowed yellow bright
to scare what creature dared so much.
Note: Lucidota atra is a glowworm as a child, but not a flashing firefly adult. He uses elegant antennae to follow the female’s pheromone plume.
A little metallic green bee makes free
with sweet nectar of oregano
while oregano pollen makes free
with the little metallic green bee
Note: This 8 mm bee is Augochlora pura, one of those insects of astounding green that makes you wonder.
A minute chalcid wasp
stands after mating
on the bud of a flower.
She is ready to fly
on stained glass wings
gifted by a slant of light.
Note: Chalcids are parasitoid wasps. Most lay eggs in other insects. Some form galls on plants. They are common but rarely noticed because of their minuscule size.
A big and burly bee
plunges a long tongue
into marsh milkweed flowers
one after another until
her honey crop is so full
she flies heavily home,
her buzz a lower tone.
The hyperactive giant swallowtail,
all long legs and yellow fur
with those big black eyes
and wide bird-bit wings,
pauses to uncurl her straw
to sip true-flower sweets
from coneflower’s center
in the season’s last spasm of heat
as around the corner waits September.
The last flower of wild columbine
is pretty as the first.
Three red spurs still nectar-filled,
but two spurs flop empty as fool’s cap
tassels that lost their bells.
The long tongues of hummingbirds
and butterflies took nectar
but ignored the golden pollen coins
that still wait for bumblebees.
Note: What I love about wild columbine is that, over time, its nectar gradually increased in sugar content. That increase met the large energy requirements of hummingbirds. Co-Evolution within community.
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