Back Yard

Summer 2015











































I am very lucky to have a beautiful back yard in the country. I maintain some lawn, perhaps out of habit more than anything else, but I have also made a concious decision to try to let some of the area go wild. This produces lots of opportunity for different kinds of plants to grow, and I have noticed that there is an incredible diversity of wildlife that can be found in these areas. In the summer of 2015 I took a particular interest in the small, seldom celebrated species that live their life in the tall grass and the underbrush.

Milk Snake

The only reason I noticed this milk snake was because I was doing something different. Rather than sit up on the deck as I had done a hundred times before, I decided to bring a chair down to ground level and sit UNDER the deck. I spent a little time watching a chipmunk explore this shady area when I suddenly noticed the chipmunk jump straight up in the air. The reason? It had stumbled across a milk snake that might have liked to make a closer aquaintance with it!.

Candy-striped Leafhopper

The area of my yard that has been gorwing wild for the past ten years has a wide diversity of flowers. Among them is a species called elecampane, which is a relative of the sunflower. I'd never seen this particular species before moving to my current home, and I don't notice it growing anywhere else, but I'm sure that's a reflection of my powers of observation.

One morning, while up early to listen to the birds, I stumbled upon a large group of candy-striped leafhoppers hiding in the leaves of the elecampane plants. Will the wonders never cease?


Predatory Firefly!

On the same elecampane plant I eventually noticed this firefly crawling around. Then I was stunned to see it pounce on, and start eating, a smaller insect. These insects put on a beautiful show during the nighttime hours, but then provide a completely different kind of show during the day.



People may not like slugs, but they are an important species in the ecosystems that they inhabit. I happened across this beautiful specimen on a wet morning after a night of gentle rain. My favorite thing about this photo is the fact that the light is absolutely perfect. There is no direct sun, which means there are no harsh shadows to deal with. All of the colors are rich and vibrant and the moisture makes the slug appear to melt into its habitat!

Copyright 2015 William Danielson