Lepidoptera, Mantodea, and Anseriformes

There are still a few monarchs hanging about. I saw two of them on Sunday (11/15/15) in the garden on either side of the steps leading to the Butterfly House here at the Museum. I also saw an American lady and a cabbage white butterfly. All were nectaring on the asters on the west side of the steps.       Also in the garden was a Chinese mantid. It, was warming itself on a metal sculpture of the sun.Read more

November Monarch

  My office here at the Museum looks out on the main stairway leading to the Butterfly House. As I sat at the computer this morning checking email and getting my gear ready for the first trip into the Wild, I noticed a large butterfly floating above and through the garden which flanks the stairway. The butterfly appeared very dark. I assumed it was a swallowtail. If it was a swallowtail, it would be a very late swallowtail. Several minutes later,Read more


While walking up the ramp leading away from the Butterfly House, I glanced over at the common milkweed that grows in the garden on either side of the ramp. It pays to keep an eye out while walking through this garden, many insects are attracted to milkweed, including monarch butterflies. Nearly everyone knows what a monarch is, if not their entire life cycle. The butterfly and its migrations are well known. But, in case you haven’t been paying attention, here’s aRead more

Bald Eagle

Over the past few days, I’ve been seeing reports of increased numbers of raptors moving through various observation sites both in the mountains and along the coast. I also happened to see a report of Monarch butterflies staging at coastal sites, specifically Cape May, NJ. The push is on. This is a time of anxiety for me. The North Carolina Piedmont, as wonderful as it can be, is not exactly a place where one can witness large numbers of birds,Read more


The other day, I was admiring the Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa) in Catch the Wind when a Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos) lighted on the flowers and began to nectar. I photographed the butterfly and continued my walk down the path. When I got back to the office to download and catalogue the day’s photos I noticed something odd on several of the photos. There was a caterpillar just behind the butterfly’s right wing. It was a Monarch caterpillar. A few weeksRead more