I had the opportunity in 2012 to spend my days fully immersed in the fields of Lenape and Echo Lake Park, Union County, NJ where I photographed the bird and insect community in all its busy and stunning splendor.
I witnessed the mating habits of dragonflies, damsels and the Eastern Tailed-Blue butterflies who are often an inch or two in diameter; just a fleeting flash of violet hued beauty, difficult to discern in the grasses.
I spent a morning on my stomach watching in awe as a teeny blue damselfly lit upon a dew dropped blade of grass and proceeded to munch on a small moth. I hadn't fully realized that such things were happening and the prevailing sense of astonishment and wonder at what I encountered kept me going back for more. I became completely addicted to this micro world of amazement.
I rescued a damsel from a sticky thicket and it flew to a nearby leaf where it regulated it's body temperature, abdomen raising up and down. It wasn't until I looked at my files that I noted the tiny amber globes on the underside of the abdomen. They were mites.
Super-storm Sandy would wreak havoc upon the landscape in late October, completely decimating the field of milkweeds that the Monarchs feed upon. The hardwood trees were also severely damaged and the sight broke my heart. The landscape was forever changed.
One June morning in 2013 as I walked along a grassy ridge in Lenape, I noted an violet Eastern Tailed-Blue butterfly fluttering low among the tiny yellow flowers. I followed after it to discover that it had hooked a partner and was in the process of mating.
As the Eastern Tailed-Blue periodically pulsed into the female, its sperm pooled into a droplet which reflected the landscape and the butterfly's own wing. This photo is one of my favorites.
I've planted pollinator friendly flowers and shrubs in my own backyard such as Swamp milkweed, Lantana, and Buddleia which attracts Monarchs, Swallowtails, Cabbage Whites, Painted Ladies and a variety of Skippers.