I couldn't have know it when I rolled out of bed this morning but this day was to become one of those memorable ones that make the 365 day photo project all worthwhile!
I began my day with a 1 1/4 hour road trip up the Door County Peninsula with my destination being the Ridges Sanctuary in Bailey's Harbor on the shore of Lake Michigan.
My intended subject for the day was a certain wildflower I suspected I'd find growing near the beach.
I found it immediately upon arrival at the preserve and got down to business capturing the winning image.
After doing all I felt I could do with the flower and being quite satisfied with the results, I decided it was still early and being in this beautiful natural area, it would be a shame not to explore a bit more, considering I had not walked the trails there in six weeks or more.
I wanted to check out the water before headed inland to the forest so I followed a trail along the open grassy area I had been shooting in toward the nearby public beach.
I had not walked very far when a large insect took flight from a tall plant growing on the edge of the trail. I noticed immediately that it was different from anything I could recall seeing before. It had a wingspan the width a large dragonfly but milky colored wings. A grasshopper? A very large Katydid? My curiosity got the best of me and I followed the bug to the general area I had seen it fly toward and looked very closely through the vegetation but could see nothing.
Knowing it had to be near, I continued to look all around...until suddenly my eyes stopped on something I could scarcely believe...A Praying Mantis?!
I may have uttered some words I won't repeat here to express my surprise and excitement but then quickly went into photographer mode...I could not blow this chance for such a spectacular capture!! I'm happy to say I did not. :)
This is likely a rather uncommon if not rare find in the state of Wisconsin. Over the past decade I'd heard some talk of the Praying Mantis being sighting on rare occasion on the Peninsula and had considered how exciting it would be to actually see one for myself. But knowing how unlikely this would be I had never given it more than a passing thought beyond that.
So I guess it's safe to say that today was another of those very lucky days when Mother Nature decides to have mercy on me and presents me with a very unexpected and wonderful gift.