Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Durham Butterfly Count

Folks,

Last Sunday Meg and I helped with the 11th annual Durham Butterfly Count. I have helped on this count 9 out of the past 11 years if I recall correctly. We covered the Little River Impoundment, Penny's Bend Nature Preserve, High Field and our gardens. Not many of the group leaders visited gardens as normally the best place to find butterflies is in wild places with native flowers in bloom. Sara P Duke Gardens was covered due to the large masses of butterfly friendly flowers there.

Meg and I ended up finding 45 species of butterflies which is pretty good. The entire collective effort of the butterfly count tallied 58 species. Each group usually finds something the others don't find, ours was a fresh Painted Lady.

I talked the Will in the morning and his group had already found a Mourning Cloak, Nymphalis antiopa which is never found in our area in July or August as they are aestivating until it gets cooler. Anyway an hour later Meg found the above Mourning Cloak along the edge of the woods and it posed for several photos. So Mourning Cloak is now added to the count list.


This small frog gave me a small fit as its markings didn't match anything I have seen in the area. Experts tell me it is an immature Southern Leopard Frog. Usaully they are green with lots of spots.

Meg found this little red dragonfly in the shady woods. This is a Blue-faced Meadowhawk, Sympetrum ambiguum. These are a fall season dragonfly and it was several weeks early if you ask me.

This Mocha Emerald, Somatochlora linearis was found cruising a forested trail, and landed especially for me to take photos. These tend to fly with out landing so getting a photo is fairly good.

Halloween Pennant, Celithemis eponina we saw lots of these in one meadow we walked in.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail from our garden, not very many of these were found this year. The only butterfly we found only in our garden during the count was Hoary Edge and we found three of them.

Monarch, Danaus plexippus nectaring on Butterflyweed. meg found this one as I'm colored blind and missed seeing the ornage flowers. I would have seen the movement.

This female Monarch is laying eggs on Common Milkweed that had been mowed down and was growing back, good for her!
Some day I'll post some photos I took in 2004 during the 3 months I observed them on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Oh WOW!

Cloudless Sulphur, Phoebis sennae These butterflies can be seen moving northward in large numbers on the eastern coast in a few weeks. This one was just resting. I've always believed that the Cloudless Sulphur was the butterfly where the name "butter" fly came from, it looks just like a pat of butter in flight.

16 comments:

sweet bay said...

The Mourning Cloak is beautiful. Great shots of the Monarchs too.

Janet said...

Great shots Randy!! Love seeing all the dragonflies as well as the butterflies.

Q said...

Always good to see the Mourning Cloak. I have not seen one this year.
Nice Dragonflies too. I really enjoy hunting bugs. How nice to be a part of an organized butterfly count.
Sherry

Di said...

Randy, the Mourning Cloak is exquisite with its vintage look, and the Halloween Pennant photo is especially delightful... a whimsical creature, like a ballerina. Love them all and wish we had some of here.

Linda said...

Stunning photos! You know the dragonflies are also beautiful in their own way.

keewee said...

Randy & Meg thanks for the stunning photos. I am going to have to research what butterflies are to be found here on the island, and plant my garden to attract them.

Sue said...

Hunting for butterflies, and being able to identify them like you do sounds like lots of fun. My son used to go with friends he'd made at a local "herp" club, some of whom were from the university while they did counts of herps, and I'm thinking amphibians, too.

Thanks for showing us some of the beauties you counted.

Shady Gardener said...

Ohmygoodness! You actually found a Monarch laying eggs. I am in awe. :-) It sounds like it was a wonderful day. How long did it take to do this count? And how many people participate?

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

I wish I could see one fourth of the different species you find in one day. Just amazing. I think the Halloween Pennant is really cool looking!

Warren Baker said...

45 species of butterfly, thats incredible! Beautiful shots of them as well.

Wendy said...

Lovely pics! Your dragonflies look so enchanting! Like faerie princesses! Thanks for stopping by my blog.

Rosey Pollen said...

I know so little about butterflies, but I am learning a lot from your blog! I just used to call all white butterflies cabbage butterflies. I am so naive!
Thanks for sharing these pictures and the little tidbit about wrens and wasps on my blog.
Rosey

Rusty in Miami said...

That sounds like alot of fun, great pictures

Sunita said...

Those dragonflies are really something! The red one is so colourful. Your Monarch butterflies are so much like our Striped Tigers.

Kanak Hagjer said...

The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail is such a beautiful butterfly. I don't think I've seen a Mourning Cloak before. Your dragonfly photos are wonderful (as always).

Just Jenn said...

Your knowledge of butterflies never ceases to amaze me - right along with your beautiful photography.