Sunday, April 11, 2010

Trip to Bobbit's Hole.

Today we visited the Eno River State Park at Cole Mill Rd. We walked the powerline looking for butterflies and dragonflies. Then took the trail at the last trail crossing to Bobbit's Hole. Didn't have the time to walk the trail that is covered up with huge American Hollies in bloom, heavenly this time of year.

We did find a lot of butterflies in the powerline clearing, although it had been sprayed with a herbicide at some point. 12 Pipevine Swallowtails (a great number here in the Piedmont), 6 Henry's Elfins, 2 Juniper Hairstreaks (see photo below) and a rare skipper called a Cobweb Skipper. These skippers are the earliest grass skippers we have here and are mostly overlooked.

 I got my first Blue-gray Gnatcatcher today eating tent caterpillars out of our cherry tree. Meg says the tent cats have been raided many times by birds in the past few days. And Ovenbirds and Northern Parulas were calling everywhere along the Eno.

Juniper Hairstreak on a blade of grass.

Here is a female Black Swallowtail with a tail broken off.
Check out the subtle differences of the dark form female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
in the photo below!


Common Baskettails, the male on the top and female at the bottom. These are called baskettails because the female creates a basket of eggs on the end of her abdomen to deposit them in the water. I have seen this from a canoe at Merchant's Millpond.
This female Common Baskettail had me hoping she was a Robust Baskettail. Just a extra large one. It has been a while since I found a new dragonfly in these parts perhaps I'd been at it too long.

22 comments:

sweet bay said...

I just started hearing the Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers and Ovenbirds in the last couple of days too. I love the Juniper Hairstreak.

Chandramouli S said...

Oh, the poor one! She still looks beautiful though. Now I know what those majestic butterflies are that hover over the teak blooms! Thank you, Randy!

Southern Lady said...

How do you get such beautiful photos? I have tried and tried to get the dragonflies on my pond with no luck. Keep posting these wonderful pictures for those of us who are not lucky enough to get any. I love them! Carla

Randy Emmitt said...

SweetBay,
Hearing the newly arriving birds is special this time of year isn't it!

Chandramouli,
I'd really jump at a chance to see teak in blossom!

Southern Lady,
Point and shoots don't do well with dragonflies and worse for damselflies. You need a good SLR with a macro lens. Letting them lead you to a good perch helps especially if they are defending the perch from others of their kind. Cool morning are good too when they are less active.

Cameron said...

It's been a long time since I walked that trail! A good one for a spring outing.

Good comparison of the BST and dark EST. It's hard to distinguish the double dots diff when they're fluttering so fast.

Dave said...

Nice pictures!

Carol said...

Randy your little Juniper Hairstreak is a beauty! I would love to have a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, for I have never seen any of our birds dine on tent caterpillars!

azplantlady said...

Without a doubt, you are the best butterfly photographer that I have ever seen. Your photos are just beautiful!

Curbstone Valley Farm said...

Stunning photographs, as usual! How do you get so gosh darned close? I looked like a crazy woman with a camera chasing two butterflies all over the orchard last week. I'd have needed a 900mm lens to have them turn out as anything other than a spec. I really need to find some slightly less energetic subjects to shoot! We may have to dub you the butterfly/dragonfly whisperer.

Corner Gardener Sue said...

Thanks for showing the butterflies you saw. We won't see any for awhile. Thanks also for showing the 2 swallowtails. I did see the difference after looking back and forth at them. Hopefully, I'll remember when I see butterflies this summer.

Janet said...

You have a sharp eye to know and decipher the differences of so many butterflies and dragonflies. If we aren't careful you will teach me how to make an ID or two.

Sarah Knight said...

Those are magnificent photos!

Skeeter said...

Randy, you are a winner over at In the Garden! Meg will be happy :-)

That Blue-Grey is beautiful...

Gail said...

I only know a few bird calls~~It's funny what becomes familiar in our own yard...Baskettails are wonderful and I wait excitedly for butterflies to show up. gail

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

I am so jealous of all the interesting insects you get to see. I really enjoy seeing the pictures. Still no butterflies seen around here yet.

tina said...

That juniper hairstreak is awesome with the grass. What a perfect match!

Randy, You won Skeeter's give a way. Just email me when you get the chance and I'll forward it to Skeeter.

fairegarden said...

Your photos are simply the best, Randy! The Gnatcatcher is frame worthy. Thanks so much for the lesson about the two similar blacks, I have so much trouble distinguishing them and can remember the extra spots, maybe. A couple of butterflies here, mostly the gulf fritt, and way too jerky for a photo attempt. The butterfly, but I am a little shaky as well. :-)
Frances

fairegarden said...

Oops, I meant hairstreak!

wiseacre said...

The Juniper Hairstreak is too cool to be real :) I'd love to come across one.
- Hoping you find something new

Ali Iyoob said...

Cobweb Skipper would be new for Falls Lake, was it close enough to go one the list?

Ali Iyoob said...

Cobweb Skipper would be new for Falls Lake, was it close enough to go one the list?

Q said...

Nice photgrpahs...Love the Hairstreak. If I was to be a butterfly I would choose the female Tiger in her black dress. I think she is just exquisite. Your photograph shows just how gorgeous she is. In the right light you can see her Tiger markings too.
I saw my first Dragon of the season fly over the house yesterday! Soon the Ebony Jewel Wings will emerge. Spring is an exciting time of year.
I do hope the cool down we have today stays for awhile. It has been too warm for April.
Have a great weekend.
Sherry