I noticed a Praying Mantis, the autumn insect warrior working in my backyard. It just ate a cricket for lunch. There are still a lot of flowers in the garden. A variety of Morning Glory and Cosmos blooms. The bees are still working hard to harvest nectar and pollen.
Monarch Butterfly Being Stalked by a Praying Mantis.
Today while hiking in the Sourland Mountain Preserve I had a Monarch Butterfly stay long enough to get some images. I then saw that there was a praying mantis stalking the butterfly. The praying mantis is well camouflaged. In this case the butterfly took off before it became breakfast. Last year I got some images of a praying mantis stalking and then eating a hummingbird moth.
Praying Mantis — Autumn Backyard Nature in New Jersey.
I saw this Praying Mantis climbing a weed off my back deck. I initially tried to get some images with the camera & telephoto lens at hand, but the minimum focus distance for the 600 mm f/4 VR lens is ~ 17 feet. I switched to a 300 mm f/2.8 VR lens, with a minimum focus distance of 7 feet. When viewed close up, the Praying Mantis looks deadly. There was a black fly that kept landing on the back of the Praying Mantis. I guess the fly knew where the safe zone is. Ultimately, I think the Praying Mantis got tired of me, and moved further into the shrubs.
Life and Death in Nature. Sourland Mountain Reserve in New Jersey.
It was a great day to photograph nature at the Sourland Mountain Preserve. Many Butterflies, Clearwing Hummingbird Moths, Dragonflies, Robber-Flies, and a few Praying Mantis carnivores. I went in with two cameras, a D3s with a 300 mm f/2.8 VR with an TC-E III 20 teleconverter and a D3x with a 105 mm f/2.8 VR macro. Humidity was high, and I had to spend the first 15 minutes equilibrating the lenses so they were not fogged. The first place I went to was the location I observed a Praying Mantis eating a Clearwing Hummingbird Moth yesterday. The first image is a Black Swollowtail Butterfly on a Thistle bloom. Soon thereafter a Clearwing Hummingbird Moth started checking out the Thistle blooms. DANGER! DANGER! It didn’t see the Praying Mantis. Minutes later the moth was breakfast for the Praying Mantis. Later, another Black Swollowtail Butterfly was breakfast to a brown Praying Mantis.