Through a small boy's eyes
It's worth repeating that the best way to find interesting "critters" outdoors is to be there with a child. Again this weekend I was in Bend, and I enjoyed exploring with my grandson, Eli, (who took this unintentional self-portrait with my camera.) We found lots of cool bugs.
These tiny insects (I think they are flies) are about 1/4 of an inch long, and were attracted to the leaves on a young birch tree. I'm not sure if they were just resting there or if they were finding something to eat. In any case, the wasp below (I believe it is a European Paper Wasp) appeared to be either depositing something sticky on the leaves, or licking it up.
I did some reading about this wasp, and learned that it was first found in North America in Massachusetts in 1980. It's a native of Eurasia, but apparently is somewhat beneficial here because it preys on some of our insect pests.
Speaking of pests, this Pine Sawyer beetle was also in Bend today. For obvious reasons, some people call it Longhorn Beetle, and it is known to feed on the juicy layers below the bark of pine trees, which probably explains why in lives in Central Oregon.