Monday, April 19, 2010

Occoneechee April Nature Walk.

On Sunday meg and I took a nature walk at Occoneechee State Preserve. The Carolina Butterfly Society was having a mid day field trip and we had plans on going to the Seeds Pie Social so we went on our walk before the club got there.

The two ponds at the preserve were re done a few years ago and it still looks bad habitat wise that is. We decided to first look for dragonflies and damselflies in the ponds. It was a good day as we found about 20 dragonflies and 2 damselflies emerging. Most were just out of reach of the camera but I managed to get a few shots.

Freshly emerged damselfly and exuvia.

Not sure but this emerging dragonfly might be a Blue Dasher, I have been wrong before.
 Not quite out of the exuvia yet. This is the same kind of dragonfly as in the previous photo.

Life outside of the pond begins!
A female Skimming Bluet, Enallagna geminatum I found on the hillside well above the ponds and the Eno River.
One of our best finds of the day! This is a Common Roadside-Skipper in Orange County I have only found these along our driveway and it has been 4-5 years since we had one. Three were seen, not at all common in the Piedmont of North Carolina.

Brown Elfin on Blueberry.
Occoneechee is know for the unusual population of Brown Elfins, some think they were displaced on Occoneechee Mountain as far back as the ice age. We counted 34 Brown Elfins a new state high count!
Female Pipevine Swallowtail, she posed for about 2 seconds for this photo.
May Apples stole the show down along the Eno River. I have not taken a close look at these in many years. What have I been thinking? We have them blooming in in our ravine also.
Iris verna, these were all long the power lines out in the sunlight.

Cranesbill Geranium found mixing with the May Apples. We have a light blue version of these blooming along our road right now.

This is for Neil Jean! Pinkster Azalea, we saw a patch of these over the river on a cliff that was 15 x 50 foot likely the largest native patch I have ever seen of them. Needed a canoe to get a good photo of them though.

21 comments:

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

Superb dragonfly photos! Thanks for sharing.

Chandramouli S said...

Wonderful blooms and amazing shots of the winged beauties - especially the ones coming out from their old skin? I am not sure what they're called...

Sarah Knight said...

Wow, those are some spectacular photos!

Janet said...

Love those photos of them exiting from their outer skeletal shells. I am enjoying the native, deciduous azaleas in our Learning Garden, they are fragrant in addition to being lovely.

Phillip said...

Amazing photos of the dragonflies. I just saw one flying around the garden yesterday. I love that iris!

NellJean said...

I'm tickled something as beautiful as a Pinkster Azalea is dedicated to me, thank you. They are not found in the wild this far south.

I was already giddy from the excellent photos of the emerging dragonfly.

I have a conumdrum for you: Why is it that butterflies will pause, pose, preen for you when you have empty hands but go into frenzied flight when a camera comes out?

Cameron said...

What a wonderful walk--thanks for taking us along with your great photos!

Lovely weather, isn't it?

Randy Emmitt said...

Neil Jean,
I don't know why butterflies do that? Just yesterday I saw a Red-spotted Purple perching wonderfully on a white Starflower in a customers garden, went and got the camera and it went ballistic. To get good butterfly photos you always need to blend into the enviroment as you take the photos. No shadows or sudden movements.

michelle said...

Outstanding! Love the pics of the emerging damselflys and your butterfly photos are fabulous, as usual. :) And beautiful flowers also, what a great walk.

fairegarden said...

Truly that place is a wonder of nature, Randy, and your photos fitting of such miracles. The shots of the pond dwellers are phenomenal, such a happy place. Kudos for your participation in counts like these. :-)
Frances

Curbstone Valley Farm said...

How do you do that?! You must have unending patience. The photos of the emerging damselflies and dragonflies are absolutely wonderful!

Kim and Victoria said...

Nice! Lovely flowers and insects too!
I thought the title was a joke - never heard of Occoneechee before. Did you enjoy the pie?

Skeeter said...

Those are stunning pictures of the dragonflies! How lucky to be at the right place at the right time! I saw a bright black swallowtail yesterday in the garden. It glowed in the sun and would not stop fluttering for me to snap a good pic of it. I thought of your Spicebush! Our azaleas are in full bloom now. Hope you enjoy the gifts :-)

Southern Lady said...

How in the world do you get such great pictures of dragonflies? I go to the pond and try to photograph them and they just won't be still. I love them! Carla

Les said...

I love the shot of the dragonfly taken from the side showing those fabulous wings.

eileeninmd said...

Wow, awesome captures of the pondlife and the flowers are all just gorgeous! Fantastic photos.

tina said...

Your shots are incredible. One of these days I might get a macro lens and learn to take shots like these, doubt it though. This is the first year I've seen mayapple blooms. They grow in my garden but either they have never bloomed or I never looked close enough. They are sweet flowers. Now I'm looking forward to the apples. Have a great day.

Jeannie B. said...

What amazing pictures you have on your blog!

Andrea said...

Very beautiful and amazing finds. There are damselflies, dragonflies, butterflies here too, but i haven't encountered them exiting from the exuvia! And the photos are great, nice for instructions to kids! The flowers are lovely too.

Diana said...

Randy, beautiful photos but those of the emerging dragonfly are incredible!

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Great! Attractive bouquets and also bugs way too! I was thinking the actual name was a joke : never ever got word of Occoneechee before. Would you enjoy the cake?
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