Sunday, May 22, 2011

Saturdays Bugs

On Saturday I took three leisurely walks at the Eno River State Park. Given the park is along the river you can stop lots of places to hike and explore. I had hoped to find some Splendid Clubtails, rare here in the Piedmont of North Carolina. Since we have had lots of rain this spring the clubtails might have washed away and perished while emerging along the shore as the river came up, it happens. Or it might just be early for them still.

Here are some photos taken with my big camera for a change. I've wanted to update and get a new one for several years but have not been able to afford it.
A Pair of Eastern Tailed-blues mating. These butterflies are plentiful at times in our lawn and garden.
This is from our pond before i went on a walk. A baby Eastern Painted Turtle, the pond has lost of these turtles.
Female dark form Eastern Tiger Swallowtail taking in ray from the sun to warm herself.
Hackberry Emperor my first of the season, it was teasing me at the entrance to the trails at Fews Ford. Normally hackberries do not have such pointed wings, first I have seen like this, it is a male btw. Anyone want to guess the host plant on this butterfly?
This butterfly and the one below are or can be tricky to ID. Above is a Question Mark, look at the dark round spots on the forewing. Notice 4 dark spots in a row on the forewing only Question Marks have 4 spots.
Here is an Eastern Comma, both the Question Mark and Eastern Commas were flying together and perching in the mud along the river in good numbers. OK now look at the dark spots on the forewing there are 3 dark spots telling us it is an Eastern Comma.
Last week I walked the Cole Mill Power line and saw 6 of these Great Spangled Fritillaries. Yesterday I must have seen 60 in the same location. Normally we are on the southeastern end of this butterflies range seeing 6 is great, 60 might be a record. I have seen over 200 Great Spangled Fritillaries 50 miles north of here in the past. Last week the power line had around 50 Silvery Checkerspots, this week only 3 they are on the way to finishing their brood. Gotta love the way nature changes all the time.
One of the 13 year cicadas. They seemed a tad louder on my walk yesterday, more flying about and perched in small trees and shrubs. I did not see any deformed wing ones at all. I did notice a fair number freshly dead on the pavement, they are starting to die now it seems. I've really enjoyed them myself.

Today's discovery is I call hear cicadas calling in the distance here at paradise! I walked about for 2 hours hearing therm faintly most of the time, yet found no visible signs of them in the air, trees or ground.
The power line is loaded with Ox-eyed Daisies this American lady posed nicely on them. The daisies have been blooming a long time, the butterflies are not using them as much as last week.
Here was my target for last weeks hike in the power line, I finally found one yesterday. It is an Arrowhead Spiketail, they are over 3 inches long a big dragonfly!  This one let me get up close and take lots of photos.
Any guesses to why it is called an Arrowhead Spiketail?

Here is the Question Mark seen from the side it was investigating owl droppings and let me approach take photos and walk away, must have been good stuff. The cream marks in the hindwing resemble a Question mark don't they.

The bees are doing fine drinking syrup like crazy, it'll be a full time job making syrup for them. They are drinking about a quart a day of sugar syrup. I make the syrup by heating up 6 cups of water and adding 6 cups of sugar to it and dissolving it. I watched them yesterday morning arriving back to the hive. I noticed 3 bees carrying pollen out over a 100 bees, hope that will improve. The biggest season for pollen collection just ended. Tulip Poplar and blackberries are done, this leave main sources like clover and other flowers not in great abundance.

Around 5 pm I went out there and over 100 bees were swirling about the front of the hive looking confused. Did not know what to do, so I called  Monica at the bee company. Here is what Monica had to say: It sounds like the bees are orientating to the hive, or it could be that they were doing their "cleansing" flight. After 30 minutes they were back to normal. Its going to be very hot today if they do this again I'll take video of it for the blog.

One last thing I saw a lot of snakes yesterday starting with a Rat Snake in the bluebird box :((( looking out at me. On the Eno I saw 5-6 Northern Water snakes and this morning I found our first yard Northern Water snake in the pond on a stick. Also had a grass snake in a big tree on the Eno. Today I checked our snake tins (snake tins are metal roofing laying on the ground for snakes to get under. Anyway I lifted the tins and found a worm snake and the largest Ringed-neck Snake I have ever seen 18 inches or more. Both these snakes eat slugs great to have in the garden.


Ginny said...

Wonderful photos, Randy. I love that baby turtle!

NellJean said...

Grrr! Still can't Pick your posts. I hope everybody is looking to see the beautiful butterflies and dragonflies. Great photos. I didn't know about snake tins.

We have power lines, but they just march right across cultivated fields and pastures willy nilly. Fences are gated and locked.

Patsi said...

Awesome captures during your leisurely walks. Enjoyed taking a walk with you.

tina said...

Such beautiful pictures I always try to imprint them in my mind so I can identify the bugs around here. That baby turtle is the sweetest!

Kevin said...

Beautiful photography

Curbstone Valley Farm said...

The turtle is beautiful! I'd forgotten how much punctuation exists in the butterfly world...question marks, and commas ;) Glad the bees are doing well, I knew they'd get to a quart a day soon. Thank goodness sugar comes in 50 lb bags! You'll see even larger clouds of bees after the first bees hatch out. Ours in the Salvia hive are out twice a day in warm weather. It's an amazing sight to see so many new bees orienting to their front door all at once!

Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...

We had a baby turtle swimming around the dock, they are so cute! Thanks for the comparison of the Question Mark and the Comma butterflies. Now if they will only stay still, wings open, to count the dots!

Caroline Gill said...

Snakes, turtles, cicadas and dragonflies! Randy, you make me feel I am back in Greece. What amazing wildlife and fabulous photographs. For this uninitiated reptile watcher, is a yard snake one that lives with you - like a pet? I saw my first Comma of the season here in Wales last Saturday.

Chandramouli S said...

Every shot if gorgeous, Randy! Nice to hear that your bees are doing fine - must be exciting!
SNAKES!!!! EEEEEEkkkk! I'm a scaredy cat when it comes to them....

Kim and Victoria said...

As usual, your butterfly shots are just stunning!