Friday, September 17, 2010

Melon rinds and butterflies!

This past week I had dropped a water melon rind next to the big Miss Huff lantana bush.Most of our melon rinds either go out the back door or into the compost bin. Anyway I dropped this rind in hopes of getting butterflies on it. You see below the results.

The orange butterfly is a Viceroy and the other is an related species the Red-spotted Purple. This brought me a lot of excitement and even though we have lots of willows (the host plant for both species) we rarely get Viceroys here. This also brought to mind that just over a year ago in South Carolina I saw a hybrid Viceroy, Red-spotted Purple with half the wings being like each species. I did not get a photo as the camera was 50 ft away in the car....

Here is the Viceroy again, you can see my page on them here. She posed nicely and I was able to get a few inches away with my little G11 camera.
More of the Red-spotted Purple with a Tawny Emperor (above). The camera flash kind of enhanced the ventral view a bit don't you think? The record here stands at 22 Red-spotted Purples on a half papaya that I got form the grocery for a quarter since it was nearly past prime.  See my page on Red-spotted Purple.
Below is an Hackberry Emperor, I had two of these landing on the single melon rind along with 3 Tawny Emperors (a record number here BTW), the Red-spotted Purple, Viceroy, Question Mark, Gemmed Satyr and Carolina Satyr!

OK below is a dragonfly that I got photos of in Southport, NC, the last time I got photos of this one was in 2003.
This is a Four-spotted Pennant (Brachymesia gravida) they can only be found near brackish water, so you have to be along the coast to find them. Getting the ID is easy as it is the only dragonfly you will encounter along the coast with all white stigmas on the wings.


We found about 7-8 of these along a sand bar along with a small breeze. The last time I found one of these I was getting eaten alive by mosquitoes  in a still place with only one very uncooperative Four-spotted Pennant.

20 comments:

tina said...

Good morning! You know I keep looking for viceroys here and have yet to find one. Great capture. I'll for sure be placing some rinds in my garden. P.S. Was at the lake last week and saw lots of dragonflies stuck together and actually knew why due to your blog! It was neat seeing them up close because they were everywhere.

Msrobin said...

I am always so excited to look in my feed list and see a fresh new post from you, because I know you love butterflies just as much as I do! The one time I left melon rinds out for the butterflies, my husband definitely looked askance at the "garbage" left laying around. LOL But I'll try again soon, because it has been a banner year for the flying flowers this year!

fairegarden said...

I don't even like watermelon, but might have to go get some, Randy! lol I wonder if what I think are monarchs are really viceroys? I will have to get a photo to compare with yours. Thanks as always for the ID on my blog. I never get it right! Love the dragonflies. :-)
Frances

Carol said...

Bravo! Randy! Gosh how gorgeous!!! That little Viceroy sure did pose pretty for you and the Red-spotted Purple too... breathtakingly beautiful. The colors in these photos are superb! The melon worked for you in more ways than one. You have your own butterfly house there ... melon included. It is so funny ... I almost did the same thing recently. What a joy to see these... stellar dragonfly too. Terrific eyes! ;>)

Robin's Nesting Place said...

I attracted a lot of butterflies this summer with over-ripe bananas and watermelon rinds! I was disappointed when I couldn't find more watermelon in the grocery store a few days ago. I am going to miss seeing them.

Shady Gardener said...

Hi Randy! Your photos are better, of course... but I had a Monarch and a Red spotted purple enjoying each other's company as they found a little treat on a hummingbird feeder today! ;-) I took photos. Hopefully I can post them before too long.

Southern Lady said...

Great shots, Randy! Carla

Les said...

What an easy idea to get some butterfly visitors to the garden. We had a bassett hound who would pull watermelon rinds out of the trash and compost to eat. We ended up having to double bag them to keep him from making himself sick.

Kerri said...

Really super shots Randy!

sweetbay said...

Beautiful captures of the Hackberry Emperor and Red-Spotted Purple!

joey said...

Stunning ID photos, Randy, especially the first dragonfly ... awesome!

Ali Iyoob said...

Very cool shots! Note on 4-spotted Pennants though; they are pretty good with fresh water, and occur into the eastern portions of the piedmont.

africanaussie said...

I just discovered your blog - wonderful photos! Here in tropical Australia we have a type of swallowtail butterfly called the ulysses and I think I have the catterpillars on my lime tree! am carefully waiting to see what emerges!

Friend of HK said...

Your photos are superb! I have recently seen some butterflies "eating" papayas in my garden too. Fascinating to watch!

Corner Gardener Sue said...

I enjoyed your photos. I knew that viceroys mimicked monarchs, but didn't realize how much like them they look. Your dragonflies are cool. I especially like that last photo.

I have a watermelon I need to cut up. I'll have to remember to put some rinds out where I can see them. I normally put them on the compost pile, so maybe I've hosted some butterflies without knowing it.

Kim and Victoria said...

What gorgeous butterflies you get on your melon rinds! So pretty!
All we get are chickens!

Benjamin Vogt said...

We get lots of viceroys and red spotted purples here, especially on the willows and crabapples. I have arctic lue willow that the viceroys like especially.

Iowa Gardening Woman said...

Beautiful butterflies and dragonfly shots. They have both been abundant here in Iowa this year.

Meredith said...

Holy cow, that Red-Spotted Purple is GORGEOUS!

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I attracted a great deal of seeing stars come early july using over-ripe apples along with melon rinds! I had been unhappy while i would not find more watermelon in the supermarket a few days ago. I am about to pass up experiencing these people.
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