Friday Flower – Yellow zinnia with a yellowjacket

Yellow zinnia with a yellowjacket – Photography by Laura Lecce

This cute little bug might seem adorable sitting on a matching, bright yellow flower, but do not be deceived as it is a fearsome, predatory wasp. A yellowjacket wasp that lives in a colony underground and can pack a pretty nasty sting as many times as it wants. If you disturb or injure one of these wasps near their home, they send out a distress signal to all of their friends and relatives as a sign that they must attack and defend. At that point you have no choice but to make a run for it! Cute photo though.

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I met a marmot

The marmot I met – Photograph by Laura Lecce

I met a marmot for the first time in Yellowstone National Park, and these little critters are now quite possibly at the top of my favorites list (well second,  lizards still win). They are such a cute, cuddly-looking, round ball of orange-brown fur. In the case of the photo above, the fur color was a perfect blend with the rock that this marmot calls his home. Never straying far from the safety of his fortress, he went on happily munching the grass shoots in his front yard while I sat and took his photo. It took a while for me to get a good portrait as he mostly had his head down pulling up grass, then would periodically put his head up for a just a second to check that I was still watching him. Capturing a photo of a marmot is a very seasonal activity, as you wont find them around from about September to May as they happily hibernate through the colder months of the year. I wish I could do the same!

Friday Flower – Ironweed with a monarch

Ironweed with a monarch – Photograph by Laura Lecce

Ironweed is a species of plant within the larger genus of Veronia. They have very distinct and intense purple flowers, which are a fantastic pairing of colors for this stunning orange monarch butterfly. I was very lucky that this gem sat still long enough to get a photo of it’s wonderful spots. When summer ended I made sure to take my camera to the local flower gardens to catch the last of the butterflies before they depart during the colder months. Ironweed is a great addition to your garden to make sure that the butterflies come to visit. For other posts on butterflies please click here.

Happy weekend everyone!

The yellow eyebrows of a blue grouse

Blue Grouse – Photograph by Laura Lecce

This is a gloriously proud male grouse who had decided I was infringing upon his territory. To let me know this he performed his intimidation dance – tail feathers sprawled, neck feathers on end to uncover that red wrinkly skin, and an angry frown with his bright yellow eyebrows. Little did he know, that instead of scaring me away, his dance was what got him noticed in the first place. After taking his photo, I let him think he won and scared me off with his territorial display. Such a gorgeous and unusual bird!