365 Nature – Day 199

In 2016 I’m doing a 365 Nature project. Each day of the year I will post something here about nature. It may be any format, a photo, video, audio, sketch or entry from my nature journal. It could be a written piece. Each day I will connect to nature in some way and share it here by the end of that day. You can keep up-to-date by subscribing to the RSS feed or be notified by email. See all the 365 Nature posts.

Over the last 199 days I have seen a lot of nature and visited a lot of places. Sometimes it takes willpower to simply stay home and look at the nature in our yard. Today I did just that and found some really interesting insects in the backyard. There’s a particular syrphid fly that I’ve seen a few times, but have only caught shots with my phone. Today I found it again and it cooperated and sat on daisies in the sunshine letting me get some shots with my macro lens. It is a very appealing sight when it sits on daisies because the yellow and orange hues of the fly perfectly match the colors of the daisy. It’s caught my attention for another reason, it has some fur along the edge of it’s body, more than I’ve noticed on syrphid flies before. The thorax is also different, instead of solid black like I usually see, it’s an interesting black and grayish white pattern.

There were many pollinators still in the backyard at the Fireweed, despite few flowers left on the plants. I saw many honey bees and bumble bees along with other syrphid flies. But there’s more than just pollinators around the yard though and I found a really beautiful and tiny wasp that I think is a cuckoo wasp. It’s similar to one I found way back on Day 114 in the spring which was a shiny blue/green. This one had a shiny blue/green head and thorax like the other, but the abdomen was a shiny red. It was also very small and terribly difficult to photograph because of the tiny size and it hardly stopped moving. As I watched, I noticed it appeared to be grooming and curled up almost into a little ball while it wiped it’s legs. A very mesmerizing insect.

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Kelly Brenner

Kelly Brenner is a naturalist, writer and photographer based in Seattle. She is the author of a book about urban nature, coming Spring 2020 from Mountaineers Books. She writes freelance articles about natural history and has bylines in Crosscut, ParentMap, National Wildlife Magazine and others. On the side she writes fiction.

Kelly holds a bachelors degree in landscape architecture from the University of Oregon and a certificate in non-fiction writing from the University of Washington.

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