If you haven’t already, please pass along the information about our Hubbard Fellowship to any recent college graduates you think might be interested. Fellowship applications for 2020 are due on September 30, 2019. Thanks for your help!
Last weekend, I spent a magical morning in dew covered prairie along Lincoln Creek, here in Aurora. Everything around me glittered in the early morning light and I found easy photographic subjects everywhere I looked. I’ll share more photos from that morning in the future, but today am featuring big bluestem and the tiny flower flies that were feeding on its pollen.
It was hard to ignore the statuesque big bluestem flower heads all around me as I walked through the prairie, especially since they were covered in sparkling dew drops. I was particularly drawn to the anthers hanging from the actively-blooming flowers. As I was examining and photographing those anthers, I became aware of lots of tiny flower flies that seemed even more interested in them. I watched as the flies clambered about the dew-covered flowers, stopping to feed intently on anthers. Periodically, they would stop eating and zip away, circling back to land on the stem below the flower. There, they sat still for a minute or two – maybe scanning for predators or just catching their breath? Then they’d take off and fly back to the same flower to resume foraging.
Once I established the pattern of feeding/resting, it was pretty easy to sidle up to a fly, set up my tripod, and photograph it for a while. If I moved too quickly and spooked it away, the fly usually returned to the same flower after a few moments. Among a morning with many highlights (literally and figuratively), the chance to spend some intimate time with those grass-feeding flower flies was pretty spectacular.