I often head to the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma to photograph the amazing array of wildlife found there. When the auto tour road fails to deliver prime wildlife sightings, I’ll park and set out on foot to explore some of the restricted back roads. One such road near Tuff Pond is closed to visitors from September 1 to March 31, making late summer a perfect time for a peaceful walk.
During an August walk last year, I came across an unusual wasp perched on a blade of Johnson grass. With its striking metallic golden color, this was no ordinary wasp. I snapped some photos before it flew off, making a mental note to identify it when I returned home. After some research, I learned this wasp was a Great Golden Sand Digger Wasp. These solitary wasps dig burrows in sandy soils to provision with paralyzed cricket prey for their larvae. I was able to access this restricted road in August when it’s open to foot traffic, but it’s important to note the road is completely closed to all visitors, including hikers, from September 1 to March 31.
While I go to Sequoyah NWR mainly for the chance to photograph iconic wildlife like deer, coyote and waterfowl, it’s special finds like the Great Golden Sand Digger Wasp that make every outing unique. You never know what hidden gems you may uncover when you take time to get off the beaten path and explore. I can’t wait to see what unexpected discoveries await me on my next walk at Sequoyah!
Steve Creek, Wildlife Photographer
- Camera: Canon EOS R7
- Lens: Canon RF 100-500 mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM
- Location: Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge (Oklahoma)
- Date and Time Taken: August 11, 2022 (08:05 A. M.)
- Program: Manual
- Aperture: f7.1
- Shutter speed: 1/2000
- ISO: 5000 (Auto)
- Exp. Comp.: 0
- Focal Length: 500 mm