Gulf Fritillary

  The butterfly above is a gulf fritillary (Agraulis vanillae). It was in the garden along the ramp leading down to the Butterfly House here at the Museum (7/18/15). Is this a big deal? It wouldn’t be a big deal on the southern coast or mountains, but here on the north-central Piedmont a sighting of a gulf fritillary tends to raise eyebrows. It perks me up no matter where I see one, it’s a beautiful butterfly.     This long-winged butterfly is tropicalRead more

Autumn Meadowhawk

Right on cue, Autumn Meadowhawks have appeared on the scene (see Autumn Meadowhawks, Explore the Wild Journal, September 16-30, 2008). The first one that caught my eye was on October 19 following the rains brought in by a passing cold front. These rather small dragonflies have a red abdomen and yellowish or straw-colored legs (they were formerly known as Yellow-legged Meadowhawks). Although I’ve seen them in May, they’re typically late-season fliers. The best place to look for Autumn Meadowhawks onRead more

Locust Borer and Late Butterflies

Although mentioned in the last installment of the Explore the Wild Journal, a picture of a Two-lined Spittlebug was not displayed. More spittlebugs have been showing up and I was able to get a nice shot of one (image at right). There was a Locust Borer on the Goldenrod alongside the Wetlands (photo at left). Although I’ve seen Locust Borers on other flowers, Goldenrod is a good place to look for them. They blend in very well with the flowersRead more


Thistle is in bloom just to the right of the “Seed Tower” in Catch the Wind. Passion Flower, or Maypops as it’s sometimes called, is blooming as well. I’ve only seen Passion Flower in bloom in one location on the Explore the Wild/Catch the Wind Loop and that is on the Wetlands side of the path directly in front of the Lotus (the Lotus is nearly all “shower heads” at this time – seed heads). Passion Flower is the hostRead more