On a recent dry day, I took my camera out to the garden and got what may be technically the best dragonfly photograph I have gotten. A member of the mosaic darner group, named for the mosaic pattern on their abdomens, the California darner (Rhionaeschna californica
) is one of the first dragonflies to be seen in our area each year.
Along with that was a bumblebee-mimicking fly that was so nervous it was hard to get a shot. I tried again another day using a high powered telephoto lens. When I finally got a shot good enough to ID it, I found it to be Volucella bombylans whose young (larva) often live in bumblebee nests.
When I checked dates in my photo archive and I found my little patch of Calypso bulbosa orchids blooms right around tax day. Every year a marble sized bulb puts up one leaf and a single flower. They are considered very difficult to grow since they appear to be dependent on a symbiotic relationship with a specific soil fungus. When I got there, most were bloomed out but one specimen was still in good shape. This little “Fairy Slipper Orchid” has been a family favorite for generations.