Friday, August 27, 2010

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Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexppus)

Monarch sipping the Cup Flower nectar.

Flight of the Chocolate Butterfly

During the first week of August,  there were several of these 
dark brown butterflies flirting around in the yard, 
I've never seen them before and now their gone.

A small butterfly, wing-span about one inch, my attempt to identify 
them leads me to the Brown Elfin, (Callophrys augustinus), 
a member of the Gossaamer-wing Butterflies, 
Family Lycaenidae.(?)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Bald-faced Hornet (Dolichovespula maculata)

This a Queen Bald-face Hornet. The oueens over winter in ground litter and in the bark of trees. In the spring they build a paper nest and start a new colony.

Males are called drones.  Born from unfertilized eggs.  They don' have stings and are not aggressive.

The females can be Queens or workers.  They have stings and will attack repeatedly.  When away from the nest, they are looking for food and are non-aggressive, just don't swat at them.

Hornets catch insects to feed to the larva in the nest. One hornet may catch 1000 flies a day.  This makes them a beneficial insect.  If you find a hornet's nest at your home, leave it alone or call a professional to remove it.

Dragonflies resting on the tips of plants

From the tips of plants dragonflies darter out and catch insects on the wing.

Garden Predator

The Ambush Bug sits patiently and waits for insects to feed on.

They hold their Raptorial front legs as if they're praying for prey.

The Rare Honey Bee Sighting

The Honey Bee (Apis mellifera) is actually alien to North America, 
an import from Europe. The Native Americans called 
them " the white man's fly".

Currently the Honey Bee is experiencing Colony Collapse Disorder.
CCD may be caused by a virus introduced to North America 
by imported Australian Honey Bees.

Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)

Spicebush Swallowtail (Papilio troilus)

Sipping the salt of the Earth.

Silver-spotted Skipper(Epargyreus clarus)

Drinking the nectar of the butterfly bush

Free Your Butterfly!

This butterfly was caught in the plastic wind break of my deck. I offered it my finger and with out hesitation it grabbed hold.  I walked to where it could fly free and took these shots in the mean time.

It may be a Gray Comma (Polygonia progne), not sure, of the Family Nymphalidae, the Brush-footed Butterflies.

Red Admiral's "MayDay"

A Red Admiral Butterfly (Vanessa atalanta) was flirting about my dog-fish pond, when its wing clipped a spider web, causing it to splash down into the pond water.  A quick photo was taken and I observed that the surface pressure was to great for it to drag its self on to a violet leaf and out of the water.

Decision time, do I respond to the Red Admiral's "MayDay" call and pluck it from the inevitable or let nature take its course.I settled for compromise. I fished the butterfly out of the pond with a stick and placed it in a sunny spot to dry.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Bumble Bee and Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly at Purple Cone Flowers

Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly drinking the nectar of a Purple Cone Flower.

Float Like A Butterfly, Sting Like A Bee
Can you find the Bumble Bee in this Photo.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)

Brush-footed Butterfliy (Nymphalidae)


A very common butterfly.  This one is sipping nectar from a butterfly bush flower. The Painted Lady can be seen visiting gardens and meadows around the world.

I think this is a Silvery Checkerspot (Chlosyne nycteis).  Resting on a Purple Cone Flower leaf.

Bronze Copper (Lycaena hyllus)

This butterfly is a member of the Gossamer-wing Family (Lycaenidae), it belongs to the Subfamily of Coppers(Lycaeninea) Butterflies.  Both sexes underside forewing is orange with black spots; underside hindwing is gray-white with black spots and a broad orange outer margin.  The upperside of male iridescent copper-brown;  female forewing yellow-orange with black spots.

Males watch for females perched on low groth near host plants.  Eggs are laid singly on plants.  Eggs hibernate until spring. Eggs are laid on herbs of the buckwheat family including curly dock  (Rumex crispus)  

The Horse Fly (Tabanus abdominalis)

Only female Horse Flies are blood suckers.  The male Horse Fly do not bite. The male can be identified by the structure of the eyes. The two compound eyes of the male Horse Fly has no space between them while the the eyes of the female have a separation.  This is a female Horse Fly.

This Horse Fly is looking for lunch on Ranger.

Great-Blue Heron, Dead or Alive

While on a forced march with Ranger Danger at Three Rivers County Park, we encountered this Great-Blue Heron laying on its back in the tall grass on the edge of the lake. Ranger got birdie and alerted me to the herons presence, I was able to shorten his lead before he ever saw the bird.

Herons are a shy and solitary bird, they will squawk and take to the air before you realize they are there. To be sure, I was surprised to able to get so close to a live heron and puzzled because I've never seen a dead one.  Had to take at least one pic.

During the setup, I could not see any obvious injuries.  Maybe an illness has it down, Bird Flu or West Nile Virus?  I should get the pic and let nature take its course.  I focus on the birds yellow eye, hmmm, the eye is clear and the pupil is focusing ever so slightly.  It just took a breath, shallow and slow but constant.

This bird is not dead, dieing maybe but not dead. Got this shot and left the bird in peace.  Not trying to experience the bird flu or west nile.  After working on this image and thinking about animal behavior, I am willing to believe that this bird made a fool of this predator.  Yes, the oldest survival trick in the book of life, "Play Dead".