A grizzly enjoying wildflowers

Grizzly in a field of flowers – Photograph by Laura Lecce

Just a mamma grizzly enjoying some sun and a meadow of wildflowers. Don’t you just want to give her a huge, furry cuddle? Well, maybe not so much.

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Whistle pig in a meadow

Whistle pig in a meadow – Photograph by Laura Lecce

Any creature in a meadow of bright yellow flowers is adorable, but these cute and furry ground squirrels are also very entertaining. You may also know them as marmots, groundhogs, woodchucks or whistle pigs. The last name describes the shrill call they make to alert the colony of trespassers nearby (such as us humans). Which also means that as you walk through whistle pig territory (Yellowstone National Park), you have high-pitched music following you around everywhere you go.

Friday Flower – Balsamroot with a backdrop of Tetons

Wildflowers with the Tetons – Photograph By Laura Lecce

These beautiful, bright and sunny wildflowers are known commonly as balsamroot, or scientifically called Balsamorhiza. They are a member of the sunflower family and make a stunning foreground for a photo of the Teton mountain range. They are a golden flag for the Spring season and provide food for many grass and plant eating animals such as deer, elk, pronghorn and bighorn sheep. There were many grassy valleys and hillsides inundated with large tufts of golden flowers, and they appear in so many of my wildlife photos. They wildflowers really brightened up my trip and I hope they brighten up your weekend, have a great one everyone!

Friday Flower – A close look at a zinnia

Zinnia close up – Photograph by Laura Lecce

Sometimes it’s more interesting to look at something familiar from a different perspective to gain renewed appreciation. Have you ever looked at a zinnia this close before? I discovered a tiny forest of golden furry trees arranged in a perfect circle surrounded by a bed of brilliant red petals. Each yellow tree has a trunk filled with nectar that attracts bees, butterflies and moths. Each visitor gets a secret powdering of yellow pollen to transport to subsequent flowers, unknowingly becoming a pollen postal service. I go the garden to relax, unwind and refresh my mind, and while everything around me may seem tranquil, it is in fact the opposite – each and every flower, every insect and every plant is very hard at work.

Red zinnia – Photograph by Laura Lecce

Friday Flower – Pink with an Eastern Black Swallowtail Butterfly

Eastern Black Swallowtail – Photograph by Laura Lecce

Ok, so this photo is not so much about a flower as it about the stunning black butterfly perched delicately on these tiny pink flowers. Those large dark wings with golden circles and a powdering of shimmery blue. The signature elongated wing tips of a swallowtale and delicate lines of white dots along the abdomen. This butterfly truly turns heads as it flutters past and really tested my patience as I waited for it to sit still long enough for a photo that was in focus. I will dearly miss the warmer months this year as the weather is already getting too cold for my liking, and we still have so much further to go into the cold abyss of winter. Have a warm weekend everyone!

For more butterflies please click here.

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.