Feeling the Heat?

Top Photos:  Green treefrog peeks out from frog pipe in Earth Moves. It may be hot out there, but at least their’s plenty to look at to get your mind off the temperature, somewhat. If you’re going to take a photo of a silver-spotted skipper, do it fast, they don’t sit still long. You never know what or who you’re going to run into. Yes, it’s hot, but you can’t see any of these things sitting inside with the A/CRead more

You Had to Be There

Top Photo: Hermit thrush surveys its winter quarters near red wolf enclosure at museum. A hermit thrush can be difficult to spot when sitting motionless amongst branches, twigs, and leaves of trees. Even while it calls out with a chup…chup…chup or slowly repeats a slurry, whistled tone, it can be hard to pin down. Perseverance sometimes pays off when the bird switches perch, the movement catching your eye, and you got him. While walking along a service road out ofRead more

A Few Butterflies, a Great Egret, and a Lifesaver.

Top Photo: Large milkweed bugs mate between milkweed seed pods. Butterfly sightings are increasing. The common buckeye pictured here is a fairly easy find in grass along road and path edges. The Joe-Pye-weed in Wander Away is in bloom. Its tiny blossoms attract a variety of insects including hairstreak butterflies. Though I wanted to show you a juniper hairstreak on the Joe-Pye-weed as well, the one I was in pursuit of kept itself just out of reach. You’ll have toRead more

Cardinal and Pandora, Tortoise Beetle, and Annual Caterpillar Feast

Top Photo: Male cardinal wrestles with large green caterpillar. The cardinal flopped to the ground no more than a dozen feet from us on the Dinosaur Trail. It had a large green caterpillar under its control. Two months earlier, just feet away from where we now stood, I photographed a male cardinal tearing apart two luna moths. May was a busy month for luna moths, mating and laying eggs. Could this big caterpillar which was now committed to being eatenRead more

A Few Flying Insects

Here’s a quick look at some flying insects I’ve encountered during the past few weeks. American lady butterflies are fairly large and easy to spot in the flower garden at the Butterfly House. These butterflies look similar to a southwestern species which makes it to the state every couple of years. On this species, American lady, note the white dot on an orange rectangular area of the forewing which is visible from both above and below. On the underside ofRead more

Long-tailed Skipper

Top Photo: Long-tailed skipper rests between visits to flowers. Long-tailed skipper is a southern species of butterfly which moves north following breeding each year. Sometimes, they make it all the way to the northeastern states in fall. Butterfly enthusiasts would be all a-flutter should a long-tailed skipper show up on a fall-blooming flower in September in, say, Cape Cod, MA or even Cape May, NJ. I remember one occasion when a long-tailed skipper was spotted at a rural mailbox withRead more

June Sightings in The Wild

It’s near the end of June. Below (and above) are photos of some of the creatures I’ve seen during the month. They’re arranged in no particular order. The top photo is of one of the milkweeds, butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa). It attracts many insects to it’s flowers, leaves, and seed pods throughout the summer season. Here, you can see new flower buds on the left and older flowers to the right. Some insects go out of their way to attractRead more

The Ladies

Painted lady butterflies (above) are southwestern in origin. They apparently move northward each year and may do so in large numbers in some years. They are irruptive migrants and it’s thought their migrations are weather related, e.g., El Nino. I’ve seen several in the past week. Painted ladies (Vanessa cardui) may be confused with a more local butterfly within the same genus, American lady (Vanessa virginiensis). American ladies show a white spot in a larger orange rectangular spot on their forewingsRead more

Red Admiral

On December 23rd a Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) was seen flying about the Mahonia near the entrance to the Dinosaur Trail. The butterfly didn’t stand still for long, but when it did finally settle, it did so twenty some feet up on the trunk of a Loblolly Pine. It was a stretch, but I managed to get one shot of the butterfly. Red Admirals are just one of a handful of butterflies that can be seen in winter. Question Mark,Read more