Skipper butterfly feeding, Durham, USA by Nicolas Devos

Picture Story

When the government implemented a lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, I, like many photographers and nature lovers out there, turned to my own backyard. I live in a fairly green townhome development from around the 1980s, with a small pond and a creek less than a hundred feet from the house. Most of the landscape is very urbanized with sterile lawn and non-native ornamental bushes that pretty much never flower and stay green during the winter. In other words, a biological desert.
A couple of years ago I decided to try and remedy this. I got rid of the ornamental bushes planted along the side of the townhouse and sowed native wildflowers in their place.
The hope was to create a more natural landscape with native plants that would help attract pollinators and other insects, whose populations are generally in decline in the US in part due to loss of natural habitat. The lockdown gave me an opportunity to actually find out whether the wildflower patch had attracted any animals. I was surprised by the diversity of insects and other arthropods I found: Insects such as bees, butterflies and praying mantises; but I also found birds, toads, lizards, snakes. In this wide-angle macro, you can see a skipper butterfly feeding on a purple cone flower.

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