Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Rare Butterfly and Clouds of Azure Bluets

Today I found a few hours to walk along our road and check out the Ox-eyed Daisies, hoping for some good butterflies. I was lucky enough to find an Pepper and Salt Skipper which is one of the roadside skippers. This was likely the third one found here in 12 years. They are tiny and easily overlooked.

Pepper and Salt Skipper on Ox-eyed Daisy

My other good find a Juniper Hairstreak on Ox-eyed Daisy, in all I found three of these today, and junipers the host plant were very close by too.

American Lady on what I think is either Pearly Everlasting or Pussytoes laying eggs.

Below is an Hoary Edge skipper it can be mistaken for the much more common Silver-spotted Skipper. Hoary Edges are uncommon skippers yet around my place they are common.

Below is a male Skimming Bluet, Enallagma geminatum they showed up today on the pond I have been finding them here for about a week each year for the past 3-4 years. You have to watch carefully to tell them from the Azure Bluets. They are smaller about 1 1/4 inch and they tend to perch on waterlily pads.

OK I wandered off the road onto an adjacent tract and found a pond I didn't know was there. The pond is about 4 times bigger than mine and it had clouds of Azure Bluets over the open water! I'm sure there were at least 500 Azure Bluets if not a 1000 or more. Now I know where mine came from.

Both of these photos are of mated Azure Bluets. This type of mating is called a "wheel" as you can see the male attaches himself to the back of the female's head and she attaches to the male's abdomen to fertilize her eggs. If you see damselflies flying together or resting with the male attached to the female's head it is called a pair in tandem, they are not mated.

I also came upon a Black Racer snake intent on catching frogs. It never moved from its position about 3 foot from me when I found it. I also never seen so many Bullfrog tadpoles as I did today.


Anonymous said...

Randy~~ You've got such an amazing talent for spotting, photographing and describing the elusive flying things in nature.

Unwittingly (or maybe not?) you're prompting me to pay more attention to the little guys that visit my garden.

Matt Latham said...

Superb stuff Randy - I love dragonflies, damselflies and butterflies and you have captured some great images here.

Dave said...

Great pictures! The azure bluets sure live up to their name.

Heather said...

Randy- Have you ever submitted your pics to a wildlife mag or to something similar? I really like the picture of the juniper hairstreak on the daisy. A beautiful picture!

tina said...

What a nice walk and find of those azures!

Darla said...

What a great line up here. Your photos are fantastic, so glad you did not post the snake.

sweet bay said...

Beautiful shots Randy! I'm only familiar with the Silver-Spotted Skipper.

Ginger said...

The mating wheel is fascinating!

Tatyana said...

That blue color is fantastic!

Chandramouli S said...

Ahhh! I can never take a decent photograph of butterflies without panting at the end. Yours are so cool! Somehow the butterflies here seem so shy... Okay, I accept! I accept! I AM clumsy!

Great info on the Bluets and great shots! You're the man!

Meems said...

Hi Randy,
Always fun to come here and learn a few new things... like stuff about wheels and such. LOL Your photos are fabulous and I do LOVE to see the butterflies you capture... and the dragonflies.
Happy Memorial Day.
Meems @ Hoe and Shovel

Caroline Gill said...

The Pepper and Salt Skipper and American Lady particularly appeal to me: stunningly fine photos as usual, Randy!