16 July 2008

Please don't eat the daisies

There is a big clump of white daisies growing out in the garden, right next to the table and chairs we have out there. Yesterday I sat out there, under an umbrella so I wouldn't get sunburned, and listened to the radio for a couple of hours.

While I listened, I watched several butterflies and a lot of bees feeding in and on the daisies. And I took pictures. Here are some of the ones that came out the best. I took literally 200 pictures in two hours. As usual, you can click the pictures in this post with your mouse to see larger versions.

I especially tried to get good photos of the two or three orange-colored butterflies that I saw. One is just above. But they were the hardest to photograph, because they wouldn't sit still. And when they did, they seemed to sense my presence and turn themselves so that I couldn't see them very well.

They would turn themselves around so that they were either facing me or looking in exactly the opposite direction. They'd keep their wings folded up. All I could see most of the time was a vertical line with six little stick-legs holding it up. But I finally did get a few good pictures.

As I said, there were also a lot of bees out there but I didn't try to take pictures of them specifically. I did get a few though. It's nice to see bees, with all the talk about how their populations are declining.

There was also one brown butterfly. It looked like it could be the same kind as the more colorful one, but it didn't act so shy and uncooperative. Could it be the female of the species? I think I remember that some butterflies have males and females that are differentiated this way.


  1. The orange butterfly looks like what we call a skipper butterfly. My marigolds are usually well visited by skippers, but I haven't seen a single one yet this year.

    We do have a good assortment of bees of various sorts though. They especially like the large celery plant that I let go to seed.

  2. nothing to do but watch the daisies grow!!! it's a wonderful life you've made for yourself,son . i'm so happy

    love' ma

  3. Butterflies are such exquisite and delicate little creatures ... Pity there are so few around nowadays. Pictures are definitly the best way to 'capture' them, and your pictures are fabulous! Martine

  4. Your butterflies are all male Gatekeepers Pyronia tithonus (in French l'Amaryllis). Females do not have the dark mark on the upper surface of the upper wing. They are much bigger than skippers. I blogged about our butterflies here: http://daysontheclaise.blogspot.com/2007/10/les-papillons-de-jour.html - including the Gatekeeper.
    Your bee is not a bee, but a large hoverfly called Myathropa florea - one of my favourites. Hoverflies are called Flowerflies in North America and les syrphes in France.

  5. I second your comment, MA and hello to you from Alabama.

    The last butterfly looks like a cat got to it- it's wings are torn. Thanks for sharing your summertime photos with us Ken. I felt more peaceful after seeing them.

  6. Ken

    Great pics of the daisies and the butterflies in action. We can say " Hurrah to the digital camera"-200 snap shots. That's wonderful and makes it easier to pick and choose, so to speak

  7. Susan, I figured that wouldn't turn out to be a bee. Thanks for the papillon ID. Chris, we need to refine our entomological skills, I guess. We can't be experts at everything, now, can we?

    MA, wow! A comment. Yes, it's a good life. (MA is my mom.) Nothing to do but watch the daisies grow... and fight with the blackberry brambles growing up over the fence and into the hedge. Good thing I have an up-to-date tetanus shot.

    Evelyn, yes, it was calming to sit out there too, and just take 200 (!) pictures. The Beav', what did we ever do without digital cameras? I for one hardly ever enjoyed taking pictures back then (why were they called the Dark Ages?).

  8. Do you have this feeling sometimes. a tightness in your chest, that thing are so beautiful it can't be true? That's what happened when I put your photos on the big screen. So incredible to watch a close-up bee "butiner de fleur en fleur", and butterflies "voleter parmi les marguerites"?

    Thank you for bringing me in your garden.

  9. Actually, I wasn't trying to identify it (although that's how it reads, doesn't it?). It just resembles "my" butterfly a bit, especially about the eyes and antennae, as in, hmm, there's something that's familiar about you.

    I'm always surprised when you have do happen to have exactly the same bugs that we do; I expect them to be different so far way.

  10. I feel the same way, Chris. I'm surprised when I see bugs here that resemble the ones I knew in North Carolina or California -- daddy-longlegs spiders, for example, which infested our house in San Francisco as they do the one here in Saint-Aignan. And bees vs. flies -- I guess bees don't have those huge multi-faceted eyes that flies have. Anyway, I have a lot to learn about insects and plants at this late stage of life. Bon, ce n'est pas grave !

  11. As long as the bugs don't bug me, I'm not too curious about their names and habits. Live and let live is my philosophy. But if they wish to occupy my space, it's a different matter. I'm the boss in the house. It's not a bed-and-breakfast-inn for any bug. If they come in, I'll learn who they are and quickly send them to the outside world.

  12. I need no further knowledge about insects, but plants are always of interest. I was so happy to see MA's post. What a great mom you have!


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