Blooms and Butterflies.

Photos of a handful of flowers and leps which can currently be seen as you stroll the Museum’s grounds. And one beetle that typically doesn’t show up till mid-April. Go out and see what you can find!Read more

Spring, er, Winter Update

I saw two butterfly species on this second day of February, several Sleepy Oranges and a Mourning Cloak. Spring Peepers have been calling, as mentioned in an earlier post. Today, I actually saw one. Besides the snake being captured by a Red-shouldered Hawk last Friday, Kent (Animal Department) reported seeing what was probably the same hawk catch one in the Lemur Yard on Sunday (1/29/12). From the descriptions given it doesn’t seem as though they were Brown Snakes so, although IRead more

Mourning Cloak and Bluebirds

The Mourning Cloak (nymphalis antiopa) in the above photo was not the first of its species to be seen at the Museum this season, but it was the first that allowed a close enough approach to be photographed. Before this butterfly posed for its picture, it had been fluttering about the upper branches of an elm tree in Catch the Wind, apparently searching for a fresh leaf on which to lay its eggs. There were many flowers, seeds and leaf budsRead more

Butterflies are flying!

On Saturday, March 5th a Question Mark (Polygonia interrogationis) landed on one of the river rocks that make up the border around the U-shaped pond in Catch the Wind. I’ve been seeing butterflies for several weeks, but this is the first one that sat long enough for me to get a photo. And, if they (the butterflies) don’t sit still it’s not always easy to identify them, especially one like the Question Mark that has a close relative that looksRead more

A Widow, Mourning Cloaks, Pugs, and Hairstreaks

A Widow Skimmer (dragonfly) was seen in Catch the Wind on 24 May for the first sighting of the species this season. This sighting was a week or so earlier than last year’s first occurrence (see Widow Skimmer, Explore the Wild Journal, June 1-15, 2008). Over the past few weeks I’ve seen at least one, often more, fresh Mourning Cloaks flying about on each day that I was on site. Could these fresh butterflies be the results of the colonyRead more

A Busy Time for Arthropods

A large millipede (about 4 inches) was seen walking across the path in front of the Ornithopter. My best guess is that it was Narceus americanus. N. Americanus is the classic, round-in-cross-section form of millipede that’s most often encountered in our area. The other locally common millipede is about two inches in length, has a flattened, black body and yellow legs. All insects have six legs. Beyond that simple fact, the incredible array of shapes, colors and life styles ofRead more

The Wheel, a Hopper, a Borer, and a Carpet Beetle

Dragonfly and damselfly species are picking up. Seen this period were (dates next to names indicate day in which that species was first observed this season) Fragile Forktail, Citrine Forktail (4/18), Orange Bluet (4/27), Skimming Bluet (4/28), Common Green Darner, Swamp Darner, Common Baskettail, Eastern Pondhawk (4/25), Blue Corporal (4/25), Blue Dasher (4/27), Common Whitetail, and Black Saddlebags (4/27). The Skimming Bluets in the image at left are configured in what is referred to as the “copulation wheel.” This configurationRead more

Butterflies, Dragons, Tent Dwellers, a Forester, and a Tiger

Fragile Forktails continue to emerge from the Wetlands (see Fragile Forktail, Explore the Wild Journal, March 16-31, 2009), although I’m now seeing females as well as males. Among the other odes observed during the first half of April were Common Green Darner, Swamp Darner, Common Baskettail, and Common Whitetail. Butterflies seen this period were Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Cabbage White, Orange Sulphur, Olive Hairstreak (4/9), Eastern Tailed-blue (4/3), Mourning Cloak (4/3), Silver-spotted Skipper (4/9), and Juvenal’s Duskywing. Now bivouacked on atRead more

Aquatics, Early Butterflies, and Bees and Wasps

Although the first few days of March were cold and snowy, by the end of the first week it had warmed enough so that many insects, absent for months, were once again busily going about their daily routines. Aquatic insects observed in the Wetlands during the first half of March were Whirligig Beetle, various diving beetles, Water Boatman, Backswimmer, and Water Strider. Cabbage White, Falcate Orangetip (3/11), Sleepy Orange, Orange Sulphur, Spring Azure (3/11), Questionmark, Mourning Cloak (3/11), and AmericanRead more

Summer Heat Brings Out the Bugs

With the heat comes more insects, and for the ode (dragonfly and damselfly) lovers among you, good news. June has brought us five more species of dragonfly. Eastern Pondhawk, Twelve-spotted Skimmer, Widow Skimmer, Great Blue Skimmer, and the tiny yet very distinctive Eastern Amberwing have all joined the growing list of twenty-one species seen since the first of the year. The common names of dragonflies are in most cases very descriptive. Twelve-spotted Skimmers have 3 black spots on each ofRead more