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My Season of Self-Indulgence: Part I

November 4th, 2023 by Michael Dyet

Hmmm, what better reward could there be for 40+ years of work than to retire in the embrace of Mother Nature?

The first spring, summer and autumn of my retirement years are now in the books. I promised myself that this period would be a time of total self-indulgence after surviving 40+ years in the increasingly challenging world of work. For me that meant spending as much time as possible outdoors in meadows, marshlands, nature trails and forests.

I have been chasing after butterflies and dragonflies – Winged Wonders as I have come to think of them – for many, many years. I gave myself the retirement gift of a good quality DLSR camera and zoom/telephoto lens. This allowed me to expand my observations to the full scope of the amazing, and often miniature, world of insects.

For the record, I had 60+ outings from April through October (and a bonus warm day in November) of this year visiting more than 20 conservation areas, nature trails and Royal Botanical Gardens properties. I recorded 536 insect species. 54 butterfly species. 48 dragonfly species. 434 other insect species including spiders, beetles, bugs, moths, bees, wasps, grasshoppers and the dazzling array of flies.

Now it is time to show some of the highlights of my nature rambles. My favourite photograph of the year is the Feather-legged Fly at the head of this post. It appears to be gazing directly at me as if to say: Yes, I am thing a beauty. I’ll wait. Go ahead and take my picture.

My favourite butterfly photos of the year. On the left above, this American Lady was found in early October, when only a few butterflies are still flying, and posed on brilliant flowers to complement its own attie. The Giant Swallowtail, the biggest butterfly in these parts, was perfectly perched on a purple wildflower to show off its intricately patterned outer wing.

My favourite dragonfly photos of the year. I rarely record new dragonfly species but was fortunate enough to locate two new species this year. The distinctive Brush-tipped Emerald on the left above was hanging from a grass stem only a few feet off the ground. The Mocha Emerald on the right was hiding in a shaded area off the trail and caught my eye.

My favourite new find were Hover Flies aka Flower Flies whose bold markings captured my fascination. The Traverse-banded Flower Fly on the right had the fashion sense to pose on a bright yellow flower that reflects its own splendor. All the factors aligned perfectly for the exquisite photograph of the Oblique-banded Flower Fly on the right.

The term Mother Nature is, of course, a metaphor in itself. That metaphor encapsulates for me the perfect convergence of beauty, complexity and soul-stirring wonder that replenishes my life force each time I experience it.

~ Now Available Online from Amazon, Chapters Indigo or Barnes & Noble: Hunting Muskie, Rites of Passage – Stories by Michael Robert Dyet

~ Michael Robert Dyet is also the author of Until the Deep Water Stills – An Internet-enhanced Novel which was a double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michael’s website at or the novel online companion at

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