Sunday, October 29, 2023

Happy Halloween


I was taking photos of my Halloween pumpkin face and... got photo bombed by a black cat. Upper right. Click to enlarge. That's a lucky omen, right?


Sunday, October 22, 2023

Gulf Fritillary


I was in North Carolina recently and I saw a butterfly that I don't see up north -- this gulf fritillary. It was flitting along a sandy beach and would not stop to pose, so these few photos are all I saw of it. But I did get to say "flitting fritillary." :-)

I love how the sun shines through it like stained glass. Note the fancy black dots with white centers near the front edge of the wing. Click to enlarge.

And its long October shadow.

Sunday, October 15, 2023

Buckeye Butterflies


A buckeye butterfly sitting on a puff of white asters. Click to enlarge.

The buckeye gets its common name from big spots on its upper wing surfaces. They are called eyespots, and are thought to scare away predators. The butterfly performs a famous "startle display" -- rapidly opening its wings to flash those big false eyes. Boo!

Also check out its pretty orange bars and bands. Buckeyes have a wingspan of about 2.5 inches and are found throughout North America.

They move south this time of year to avoid the cold weather.

I have seen a lot of buckeyes this week. Even this pair, mating in the middle on the path in the warm autumn sunshine. I wish them all a safe journey to warm places.

Sunday, October 8, 2023

A Barn Spider in the Swamp


While traveling in Virginia this week I encountered this spider in the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. It's almost an inch across. Big spider! It's a spotted orb weaver also called a barn spider. This is the top. Click to enlarge

This is the underside. The web was about two feet across. I cannot tell you how glad I was that I saw the spider before I accidentally walked into the web.

Here are a few cypress trees at the edge of Lake Drummond. Does not look all that dismal on a sunny day. 
And here is a spider poem by E. B. White called Natural History

"The spider, dropping down from twig,

Unfolds a plan of her devising,

A thin premeditated rig

To use in rising.

And all that journey down through space,

In cool descent and loyal hearted,

She spins a ladder to the place

From where she started.

Thus I, gone forth as spiders do

In spider’s web a truth discerning,

Attach one silken thread to you

For my returning."

Sunday, October 1, 2023

Punctuation Butterflies !!

October is off to a good start here. It's cool and sunny and there are patches of goldenrod.

This angle-wing butterfly was flitting between asters and a white butterfly bush. Can you guess why it's called an angle-wing? (It's the jagged wing edges.)

There are a few kinds of local angle-wings. This is an Eastern Comma. It is similar to one called the Question Mark butterfly. Together they are the punctuation butterflies.

Here's why -- that little silver comma-shaped mark on the hind wing. Click to enlarge. Also note that it looks like a different butterfly with its wings closed, dark and drab.

Here's a question mark butterfly for comparison. Check out the punctuation on this guy.

Amazing, right?