Saturday, September 22, 2012

Locust Borer on Golden Rod

Today I helped with removing the ham radio antennae from the top of Meg's school. While on the roof I spied a Monarch migrating by. Afterwards I headed out on a hike to see if I could find some Dainty Sulphur butterfly I mentioned on a recent post.  Struck out again on finding any Dainty Sulphurs. My other goal was to get a really good Honey Bee photo for the state fair, hoped to find some big sunflowers to shoot them on, failed on that also.

I did however add a new species of butterfly to the Falls Lake list a Long-tailed Skipper. Falls Lake which now stands at 96 species of butterflies second only to Weymouth Woods with 98 species.

I had much excitment when I found a Locust Borer, Megacyllene robiniae feeding on golden rod. Had only seen one of these in Virginia back in 2005 when I was spending the fall tagging Monarchs at the Eastern Shore of Virginia. These are considered really bad pests on Black Locust trees.
 Locust Borer, Megacyllene robiniae
 My trick to getting these photos was to set the camera in manual mode and set the focus to about 1 1/2 inches and shoot from 1 1/2 inches away. This Locust Borer ignored me entirely and let me take a lot of photos, these two photos were the best ones.
Honey Bee gathering nectar on golden rod. Around here golden rod is considered a good late season nectar source for the bees, although many complain it stinks like rotten socks and the honey is not very tasty.

Viceroy, the mimic of the Monarch. This one was tiny, never seen a Monarch as small as this Viceroy. Getting photos of these butterflies one has to be patient and wait for the right one to come along, they do a lot of chasing which is not very good for photographing them. The lighting was back lit making the butterfly look dark, so I popped up the flash and the flash lit it for me. Patient let me explain that. I have seen maybe 100 Viceroys on the past 5-6 walks, this one was the only cooperative one I found. More on patience, I saw maybe 1000 butterflies today and the Viceroy was the only one that even produced a decent photograph. I did get a Monarch on goldenrod but the lighting was bad. I could have crawled up to 2 different puddle parties of Cloudless Sulphurs and Sleepy Oranges, but have lots and lots of puddling photos.

Reflections of Peace

Hope everyone is having a good Saturday. I'm in the process of moving files from my camera's memory card onto a back up drive. Bad news in my news back up harddrive is acting up. Worst the folder "All Butterflies" which should have a ton of folders in it shows it's empty..... Yet I have to leave to go to Durham.

I did find my all time favorite photo I took at a peace rally in of all places Fayetteville NC. When I took this photo I did not notice the peace parasol was reflecting in her sunglasses.
This photo was published in a local newspaper BTW, I forgot which one.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Jon Stewart's take on the 46% Entitlements

Folks, I could not help myself on this one. Jon Stewart really lets go about the 46% and their entitlements. Enjoy and share with others.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Bee video and the EPA


Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Search for Dainty Sulphurs

For the past month or so Dainty Sulphurs have been found north of us in Virginia and Maryland at several locations in each state. Dainty Sulphurs are usually found out in the western states or in Florida. I found 2 of them in Person County 5 years ago in October, the first Piedmont NC record. Last Sunday I went out looking to see if I could find some Dainty Sulphurs nearby at the Flat River Impoundments. Tickseed Sunflower, Bidens aristosa has been known to be a host plant for Dainty Sulphurs, Tickseed can be found by the acre at the Flat River Impoundments, thus why I looked there.
I struck out last Sunday on finding the Dainty Sulphur. But a mile or so away at the Brickhouse Rd Game lands Will Cook and party found and photographed one!

So I'm still looking. Today I went walking in Duke Forest for Dainty's but found the most Little Yellows I have ever seen in North Carolina.
 female Little Yellow, Eurema lisa from the Flat River Impoundments last Sunday.
male Little Yellow, Eurema lisa puddling in Duke Forest, there was 9 in the puddle gathering. All together I counted 47 Little Yellows, a lot more than I have seen before in North Carolina.
 male Cloudless Sulphurs, Phoebis sennae puddling from Duke Forest today.

 Red-banded Hairstreak, Calycopis cecrops on Wingstem, Verbesina alternifolia from the Flat River Impoundments.

Gulf Fritillary, Agraulis vanillae on thistle in Duke Forest today. Gulf Fritillaries are rarely seen here, I see one here about every 3-4 years. This one posed for photos and never flew off.

 We had a second female Black Swallowtail emerge in the garden last Sunday. Meg's classroom has raised and released about 12 of these thus far.
 While doing a powdered sugar treatment to my bees last Sunday I had this Northern Pearly-eye, Enodia anthedon land to taste the powdered sugar.
 The powdered sugar also brought in a Horse Fly, wicked isn't it. That was last Sunday. Today I found it upside down on top of the hive. I righted it with my bee tool and it flew twice, both times going about 6 inches and falling, must be near its end.
 Honey Bees on Wingstem, Verbesina alternifoli, seen thousands of bees on these flowers in the past week. Oh, I have agreed to provide a bee photo for the NC State Fair for our bee club.

Goldenrod Soldier Beetle, Chauliognathus pennsylvanicus going crazy on Wingstem, Verbesina alternifoli. I have seen thousands of these on the wingstem flowers.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Herman and Eddie Munster ticket??

The comparisons are so close. The big question is who is more out of touch with reality Herman and Eddie or Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.

Here is Herman's bio for those of you not familiar with the TV show the Munsters. And here is Eddie's bio.

Just uncanny isn't it? The Munster's thought they were normal people and never worked a day in their life. Lived in a big creepy mansion also.

Monday, September 03, 2012

Newly emerged Swallowtail & Scoliid Wasps

Last night we got one heck of a storm, tornado warnings and all. Rain last night was about 3 inches. Tonight we got another 2 1/2 inches, the pond even looks a bit higher. So it's wet out there, the wettest summer I can recall here.

Between the rains we had a female Black Swallowtail emerge in the garden this morning. She stayed perched for well over an hour after I shot this photos.

This female Black Swallowtail while watching her with my camera would flick her wings open, with my point and shoot camera it was all about timing to get the wings open like this. She had not yet taken her first flight when I took these photos. I can recall in the past watching females like this get mated by males before she ever flew. Today it was very wet for any butterflies to be out.

No flash, just natural light.

An update on meg's classroom Black Swallowtails, so far the kids have released 5 butterflies. Meg by herself released 7 on Saturday, so 12 so far and another 13 left, if they did not emerge today.

 Above and below we have a  Double-banded Scoliid (Scolia bicincta) wasp. Seeing these everywhere right now, the Mountain Mint is full of them. These are parasitic wasps that lay their eggs on scarab beetle grubs. 

 Below is a  Blue-winged Wasp (Scolia dubia). The females of this wasp species searches out Green June Beetle grubs and Japanese Beetle grubs to raise their young on them. Sounds beneficial to me.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Butterflies & Waterlilies at Duke Gardens

This past Wednesday I helped Meg's second grade class with a field trip to Sara P Duke Gardens. As you know they are raising butterflies, Black Swallowtails. So far as of yesterday 5 have emerged and have been released. Many classrooms raise and release butterflies, usually I do not recommend releasing butterflies raised from kits shipped from across the country. Releasing butterflies from local wild sources is a very good thing to do.
Female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail on penta.

We found maybe 30 species of butterflies at Duke Gardens, the best ones were Painted Ladies, Long-tailed Skippers and a Delaware Skipper. About half the class witnessed a female Monarch laying eggs on Swamp Milkweed.

I had fun getting photos of the water gardens, every year the tropical water lilies get better. Still early in the water lily season I hope to go back and investigate further.

The lower terraces water garden looking from the right side.
The lower terraces water garden looking from the left side.
Burgundy water lilies so cool, hard to capture the color correctly on these beauties!

Lotus flower, this might have been a dwarf lotus, very small.

This is Autumn Clematis, it is having a great year here. Last spring I found a plant in the garden that the birds planted. I moved it to a better spot and it is already blooming. I saw honey bees gathering white nectar from it. We have a large mass of this going along the roadside about 1 1/2 miles from the house.