Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Backyard Critters, August 2012

I had only (finally) just recently spotted a single Praying Mantis in our backyard.  First Praying Mantis sighting of the year for me.  I had hoped to see some earlier in the season, because most of our flowering plants were getting POUNDED by an overabundance of Japanese Beetles.  The Japanese Beetles have become such a pest, I decided NOT to photograph them.  Take THAT!  :)

So, on a recent weekend day, I saw butterfly on one of the Butterfly Bushes, grabbed my camera and went out to take some "critter photos".  As has happened so many times in the past couple of years, I was holding the camera at chest level looking for a subject to capture, when a Hummingbird showed up about arms length in front and above me.  He (she?) just hovered there checking me out.  What a picture that could have been!  But any small movement from me would send the tiny bird quickly on its way.  So...again, no picture of the Hummingbird.

I did eventually spot at least 5 or 6 Praying Mantises in the backyard, and collected these photos of them and other "critters".

A Monarch Butterfly:

A huge Bumble Bee, with a Praying Mantis "on the side":

A couple more Bumble Bee pics....I feel safe when they are like this:

But they seem a little more scary when you see them "head-on":

One thing that NEVER seems scary are the various butterflies:

Some of the Dragonflies are pretty big.  It'd be fun to get a picture of one eating something it had caught.

Jumpy Jumpy Grasshopper:

The critters with the most interesting personalities has to be the Praying Mantises, though.  Something about the way they WATCH you:

...or how they like to hang around upside down:

The one was the only brown one I saw:

The rest were green:

The coolest thing is watching them HUNT.  Check out this series:
Butterfly lands on a flower stalk NEAR the Praying Mantis.  Mantis watches with wishful thoughts...

Butterfly lands on the same flower as the Praying Mantis.  See the Mantis??  He makes to stalk up the far side of the flower stalk:

Butterfly changes course.   Mantis re-evaluates situation:

Mantis makes a move..."Slow down, ya winged bag o' nectar!"

 No photos of the gory bloodbath of a successful kill this time. The butterfly flew off again to another flower stem, leaving the Mantis to reconsider its tactics.  "Phooey!"

I did watch another Mantis go after a wasp that landed on a flower.  The Mantis made the grab, but didn't have a good enough hold, and the wasp flew away, wondering about what it was that had just tried to grab it. 


  1. Really wish the Mantis would have gotten the wasp. That would have been interesting to see the interaction/battle. Nice post.

  2. Last summer I took a picture of a mantis that was finishing off his meal of a bee or wasp. I didn't get to see him catch it, but he obviously had.

  3. Butterfies 6 and 7 are skippers, fits their personalities the way they look, fly and act.