I had an extraordinary encounter the other day when I was on my way to visit my usual wasp nest. I heard a loud buzzing near me, and after looking around realized that right in front of me on the sidewalk I was witnessing a murder. I had my camera in hand, but it was in manual mode and the wasp was moving so quickly that I could only snag a few shots. This very large wasp, known as the Cicada Killer Wasp, had stung and paralyzed its prey: the poor victim you see being dragged on its back in the first shot. I crouched down to get the shot, and before I knew it, the wasp had zoomed over to a nearby tree, where it made its way, fluttering its wings as it climbed, up to a branch out of my sight. It all happened so quickly that I was happy to come away with any images at all. I guess the wasp wanted some privacy to enjoy his kill.
I want to thank everyone who has been sticking with me over the past several days. I’m so grateful for your comments and visits. Later this week, I’m going to stop posting for a while. I’ll be on vacation– where I’ll be taking lots of photographs, since I’ll be in the deep woods and on the coast: great locations for macro mania–but this will give me the chance to spend some time catching up on all of your blogs during that time as well, something I’m looking forward to doing. So, soon, you’ll see me roaming around your neck of the blogosphere. In the meantime, thank you, thank you for all of your encouraging words and for taking the time to stop by.
Okay, everyone: here’s a quick update on the wasp family I’ve been following. They’ve more than doubled in number, and we’re finally seeing some progress on the nest. I am hoping that yoshizen, if he sees this, can fill us in on some of the details of where we are at this stage in the nest (what the bulges are, what the green stuff is that the two wasps in the middle are sharing…etc.). It’s not the best photograph (especially in terms of its composition), but I had to take the shot and take off this time. The wasp on top of the nest must have been the look-out; she spotted me right off, and I didn’t stick around to test our relationship.
Ahhhh, at last! I’ve been visiting my queen wasp very regularly over the past couple of weeks. She has been working and working and working, and making what has seemed like very slow progress on her nest. Finally, her first daughters have been born, and so now they can get to work!
Thank you (again) to yoshizen for offering the information about these newborns. He also warned that they are likely to be quite aggressive and will defend the nest, so I should watch out. I am definitely being careful. A couple of days before the female worker wasps were born, I managed to get a few interesting shots of the queen by herself. She is easy to photograph because she is simply always hanging around the nest. I don’t know why that surprised me. I’ve grown quite fond of her now and am utterly fascinated by all the different ways she moves her body. Yoshizen mentioned that the way we know she is a wasp is by her two sets of wings, which you can see in the first and third of photographs below. In the first image, I’m almost certain she is smiling at me. 😀