Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Swallowtails in the Redbud trees!

Today it is another 90 degree day in North Carolina. Pollen is falling everywhere and everything is covered in green stuff. I took a walk up the driveway today and found 5 Eastern Tiger Swallowtails feeding like crazy on one branch of a special Eastern Redbud tree.


Here is a fresh dragonfly from the driveway a female Common Whitetail. Today was the first day to see Common Whitetails, maybe 4 of them along the driveway today.

You can see on both dragonfly photos here the pollen on the bodies.
Here is a male Stream Cruiser the scientific name is one I always remember Ditymops transversa. This was one of the first dragonflies I saw this year. These guys pose well for the camera unlike many of the other spring dragonflies.

26 comments:

Noelle said...

How beautiful! Swallowtails are my favorite type of butterfly. How interesting that you are hotter then we are in AZ? We are going to be 78 for a high today :-)

NellJean said...

I haven't been looking upward. No wonder swallowtails seemed scarce.

Cyndy said...

Love these pictures of beautiful bugs! Amazing critters :)

Southern Lady said...

Beautiful pictures! How do you get such great shots? I have so many dragonflies on my pond, but they are so active that I can't get a clear shot. I noticed most of them were mating, maybe that is why they were flitting around so. Thanks for sharing such great photos. Carla

madcobug said...

Your weather is hotter than here in AL. Those are beautiful shots of both kinds of insects. Helen

Di said...

Randy, beautiful photos. We have a while to wait for the Swallowtails. Rain and 50 degrees followed our near 70 several weeks ago, and I am elated as I currently have the window opened.. optimistic that Spring is finally here.

Kim and Victoria said...

Gees........your REDBUD is blooming???
Is this normal weather for you? It seems so very hot for spring.
Nice pics, by the way.

Benjamin Vogt said...

Awesome! We had an overwintering swallowtail in a chrysalis but it got away from us before we noticed--I thought late March was to early to emerge, but I was wrong. Last year I discovered I should be snipping all the flowers off the fennel since wasps like to carry away caterpillars.

Randy Emmitt said...

Noelle,
Around here 78 is a cool day. All our greens are bolting because of this early heat wave.

Neil Jean,

Always remember to look up! Never know what you will find.

Cyndy,
Thanks for stopping by! Please do return soon.

Southern Lady,
Today I used my old DSLR Canon camera and a 180mm macro lens with fill flash. Dragonflies there are three ways to shoot them: early in the morning before they get active, watch for a perch they are defending from other dragonflies and lastly when eating some stay put.

madcobug,

Your right it should be hotter there in AL.

Di,
Open windows are very nice, but right now with our pollen falling best only open them at night.

Kim and Victoria,
We have a lot of redbuds, in one shady flower bed I must have pulled out 20-25 redbuds just today.

Benjamin,
Butterflies and wasps run in cycles. This year the wasps might be in a low population cycle and the butterflies in a high population cycle. One year we found 1800 Eastern Tiger Swallowtails on the Durham Butterfly Count in August, the next year we were lucky to find 20 with 6 parties of people looking. Also not all of the wasps attack caterpillars, just a few of them. Removing the fennel flowers does help it from being so invasive too.

fairegarden said...

You are the master of the dragonfly image, Randy! The butterflies ain't too shabby either, :-). I don't recall even seeing butterflies this early, but saw a couple the other day in these summer like temps, a Gulf Fritt and a cabbage white. I hope this is a good cycle for them, we had hardly any last year.
Frances

Tom - 7th Street Cottage said...

Yep. Been seeing them in my yard too. The crickets are singing at night. I went outside hoping for some lightning bugs last night, but none appeared. The cats are in heat. It must be spring.

Cameron said...

Fabulous photos!

I noticed a few Tigers and a BST today. The BST was enjoying the phlox and scabiosa blooms. My bronze fennel is about a foot high. I have THOUSANDS of bronze fennel seedlings around since I didn't trim off the flowers. Need any?

Floridagirl said...

Gorgeous photographs! Love those butterflies and dragonflies!

Shady Gardener said...

Wonderful photos! When I see a Tiger Swallowtail, I will be Very Happy! :-) It will be a little while, yet. Although, our Spring weather has been unseasonably warm and everything has been growing like "gangbusters" lately!

Town Mouse said...

Beautiful! I still don't know how you make them sit still;-> Maybe this summer I'll learn.

Sarah Knight said...

Wow! Those are absolutely stunning photos!
The weather, flora, & fauna look magnificent!

Skeeter said...

As we drove through SC and NC on Friday, (I-95 ) the car showed temps of 93 degrees! I was spotting butterflies all over the place and unfortunately, we hit a few with the car windshield. Sigh, I could not help but cringe with each hit. What’s a driver to do? On our return trip Tuesday, the temp was reading 91 degrees during most of our travels down Hwy/I-29. The pollen was as bad there as here. Today the wind is blowing and really making a mess of things. Come on rain…

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

Wow! I think these are some of my favorite pictures I've seen this Spring. I don't think we'll be seeing butterflies for awhile still. I'm glad to enjoy your pictures.

Q said...

Your Tigers are beautiful! I have not seen one yet this year. It is still very early here for Tigers and Dragons. Low tonight is to be 34 degrees. Wonderful photographs. I use my macro more and more around the yard for bugs and blooms.
I have a few new to me Spring migration birds stopping in for seeds. I keep looking for the Baltimore Orioles. They could be here any day.
Wonderful to see the Tigers.
Thanks,
Sherry

tina said...

Simply beautiful!

Chandramouli S said...

As always, those are breathtaking shots and I learnt about yet another butterfly today. Thank you :)

sweet bay said...

Beautiful Swallowtail shots! When our biggest Redbud was in bloom it was so monopolized by bees that I didn't see many butterflies on it.

Carol said...

What a treat to visit your world Randy! That is a special E. Redbud tree for sure! It must have been so amazing to be standing there under the beauty of the blossoms and butterflies! Wonderful shots!! Your dragonfly photos too. Gorgeous! Yikes to the 90 degrees! Carol

Corner Gardener Sue said...

Look at those beauties! I forgot to say before that I liked those dragonflies, too.

I noticed Bengamin said something about cutting the blooms off of the fennel. I didn't know to do that. I thought that was the part the caterpillars like.

I have a question. Do you know if all wasps eat caterpillars? I have been wondering if I should quit growing Virginia mountain mint because of the variety of wasps that hang out on it, especially some blueish black ones. I love the plant, but am willing to part with it to save the caterpillars.

Msrobin said...

Beautiful! I am quite envious of all the butterflies you saw, it's too early yet for many here. But they'll be here later, I just know it!

UrsulaV said...

Common whitetails! THAT's what those are!

I've been seeing them in the garden here in Pittsboro for the last two years, and I kept wondering what the heck they were. Yay! (Now I just have to figure out why they like it here, and keep doing it...)