Saturday, November 06, 2010

Checkered What?

Last night it was down in the low 30s, I heard reports of freezing rain this morning when I was at the Hillsborough Farmers Market. Nothing look frosted though. Tonight we should have our first hard freeze, the banana tree will tell the whole story in the morning I guess.

All day it looked like a winter day being mostly overcast with lots of dark moving clouds. I met two friends for a nature walk in the Butner Gamelands at 1 pm. We did not expect to find much in the way of butterflies as it was lucky to be 50 degrees most of the day. My friend Owen is on top of mushroom identification and has been doing mycology for many years. So we looked in the woods for mushrooms, no exciting finds in the way of mushrooms other than two kinds of puffballs.

Roger found this uncommon to rare butterfly a female Checkered White  featured above and below. Here in North Carolina there is no place you can reliably find the Checkered White, out in the western US it can be very common. It was so cold that it let us pick it up. Normally with my little Canon G11 trying to get a close up of this butterfly would be impossible. Once the sun came out (for 10 minutes) it spread its wings and flew away.
Below is a Common/White Checkered Skipper when the sun was out I saw maybe 20 of these little guys. Never have I photographed both butterflies with checkered in their names on the same day. The cold was the only reason I was able to get my G11 up close to this busy skipper.
This mustard in planted in 20 ft rows for maybe a mile, in the fall this can be the place to find butterflies near Durham. Like our Carolina Blue skies?
Always a treat on a cold day, a male Autumn Meadowhawk perched carefully on a gate pipe. It was so cold it took 5-6 landing attempts before it obtained a resting place. Two of these were seen only by yours truly today, the other landed on my breast pocket while walking along.

We also found some cool oak trees, Swamp Chestnut Oak and Overcup Oak. The overcup acorns always make my day when I find them.

15 comments:

Town Mouse said...

Each time I read one of your posts I realize how much fun it would be to know more about butterflies! Very much on my list; maybe next year?

Thanks for the great photo.

Shady Gardener said...

Does the checkered white always have "blue eyes?" Very distinctive. You are fortunate! :-)

Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

The skipper on the third photo has such a wintery and, in my opinion, mysterious color... Love it!
I miss mushroom hunting.

Carol said...

Wonderful photos Randy! This is a first for me . . . seeing these butterflies . . . they are so lovely and how odd about the checkered day. Your photo of the mustard and sky is rather surreal. Next time I would love to see those Oaks. ;>)

Hazel said...

Randy, I always adore your butterfly and insect photos. I have been trying to take photos of butterflies here, but they just melt away on me. But it is OK, I will just keep visiting your blog and enjoying yours.

Corner Gardener Sue said...

You sure have some cool experiences, Randy! We don't venture far from our yard. I wanted to take our grandson to the nature center at a local park yesterday, and walk on some trails, but he didn't want to go. (He's never been there yet, he just didn't want to go to a park.) Instead, we went out, and ended up doing some garden clean up. He picked a bunch of green tomatoes, helped me pull some cages out, and threw some dirt around on his shovel.

It was fun, but I ended up only getting 2 critter photos taken this week, so didn't do a CC post.

I enjoyed your checkered critters and the cool dragonfly photo.

Kerri said...

WOW! Great captures!

keewee said...

It must be quite exciting to be able to pick up an uncommon butterfly like that.

sweetbay said...

I bet that mustard field is the place to find butterflies in the fall! Even if the weather is uninviting. Beautiful picture of the Common Checkered Skipper, and I love the blue eyes of the Checkered White.

I'm not sure I've actually seen an Overcup Oak before, although I've heard of them. Or, to be more precise, didn't realize when I was looking at one.

Janet said...

I love that closeup! So how much of a freeze did you get? We had a light frost, under tree canopy wasn't touched. I guess the lake helps.
We had some Swamp Chestnut Oaks in Virginia, still trying to ID some of the oaks here in SC.
Love the bright yellow mustard blooms.

Andrea said...

Hi Randy, so the cold temp actually did you some advantage: that of shooting and touching this rare butterfly. I wonder if we have that here, i've not seen them either.

Randy Emmitt said...

Everyone thanks for your comments! We did not get a frost as expected here. The meadow across the woods from us had frost but nothing was damaged here! The banana tree is still good, might even grow another leaf.

I'll post some leaf photos of the two oaks mentioned here and some overcup oak acorns.

Janet said...

Just a quick hi to say it is time again for the Pears and poomegranates! Made it tonight-- yum http://rlephoto.blogspot.com/2009/10/spiced-pears-and-pomegranate.html

rohrerbot said...

Thanks for checking out my blog. I have been enjoying your writings and pics. Look forward to reading more about your adventures in the garden and around your neck of the woods.

Ali Iyoob said...

Very cool! Mid pines Rd. used to be a reliable spot, but since both my and Harry's trips this year didn't find one, I think the population is gone.