Dragonflies

The hot weather is not my favorite. But it’s good for dragonflies!

There were tons of Meadowhawks in the field near the bird banding station.
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Also in the field were Slender Spreadwings… so delicate!
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Over on the bridge at Spatterdock Pond I spotted Eastern Pondhawks. It is easy to tell male from female by color. The males are blue and green, the females green and black.
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There were also Dot-tailed Whitefaces. This one’s hind wing is a little tattered.
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I also saw Common Whitetails, Twelve-spotted Skimmers, Blue Dashers, and Common Green Darners… but none of them would sit still for a portrait.

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Butterflies

I’ve heard from many about a dearth of butterflies this season. While at Audubon for bird banding, I put the long lens on the camera to see who I could find. I was pleased to find several species!

I kept watching to see if this Monarch (Danaus plexippus) would lay some eggs on the swamp milkweed. A closer look leads me to believe it is a male, however…
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A Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele) also visited the Swamp Milkweed, though it never turned around for a proper portrait.
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Over in the grasses and cattails of Spatterdock Pond I found this Little Wood Satyr (Megisto cymela):
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I kept hoping it would pose with its wings open… best I could get was this out-of-focus shot:
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Speaking of out-of-focus shots, this was the best I could get of this Skipper. I tried to key it out using Kaufman’s Field Guide to Butterflies of North America. I think it might be a Little Glassywing (Pompeius verna), but if someone out there wants to dispute it, I’m wide open! I’m only just now starting to try to know the butterflies!
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There was another skipper over in the meadow which I think is a European Skipper (Thymelicus lineola) – only because Kaufman says its larva eat Timothy and other grasses and that’s what I found it on. But again, if you know for sure, please leave a comment! There are SO MANY skippers and most are orange.
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I found I had a better picture of it from last year!
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Speaking of lots of similar orange butterflies, you should take a browse through the Fritillary section of a butterfly guide! The markings on this one look most similar to the Silver-Bordered Fritillary (Boloria selene).
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We saw their caterpillars this spring, and now the adults are emerging everywhere at Audubon. The Baltimore Checkerspot (Euphydryas phaeton) has to be one of the most photograph-able species I’ve seen. They were just sitting – posing, “I’m ready for my closeup.” Even when I had to move away some grasses and leaves to get a clear shot, they just sat there waiting.
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The underside is really pretty, too.  Look at this one playing hide and seek; you can barely see him behind the grass. (Ha!)
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And one last species for the day – a Mourning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa). This one teased me by landing first on my pant leg, then on my shirt. Eventually it flew off to a spot on the other side of the field. I followed and found it clinging upside down.
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Roadside Gardens

Who needs a garden when the roadsides provide so much beauty. I’ve had an itch to photograph them, but you don’t want to stand along a busy highway to do so! Instead, I headed for some dirt roads that I figured would not be highly trafficked. Here are just a few of the flowers blooming along the highways (and dirt roads) of Western New York in early July.

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Wild Parsnip and Sweet White Clover

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St. John’s Wort

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Chicory and Evening Primrose

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Fleabane

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Purple Clover and Bird’s Foot Trefoil

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Black-eyed Susan

My favorite stretch of country road was lined on both sides with Day Lilies:

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Quick Stroll

My job has kept me tied to the computer a lot lately.  Yesterday, I just had to get out, so I took a quick stroll out to the Big Pond Overlook.

Blue Vervain and Yarrow were both in bloom. Add some Bee Balm and you’d have a nice Independence Day bouquet!

Blue Vervain Yarrow

Both Swamp and Common Milkweed were blooming, too.

IMG_9684 Common Milkweed (and can you see the Monarch Egg?)

I looked for Monarch eggs or caterpillars, but found none. (The picture above was taken during a different stroll. Can you see the egg? on the leaf of the Common Milkweed on the right?)

When I got out to the overlook, there was a mama Red-Winged Blackbird scolding, “Check! Check! Check!” She had a worm dangling from her beak. I refused to leave until I saw where she would take it. Dad called from a tree just behind me. Finally, she headed to the nest and I heard her babies peep, “Feed me! Feed me!”

A family came up behind me and I got to teach the difference between the male and female and show them the nest.

Red-winged Blackbird Red-winged Blackbird Female

I returned to my desk amazed at how refreshed even a short walk can make me feel.

Oxeye Daisy

Oxeye Daisy

He loves me. He loves me not.

He loves me. He loves me not. He loves me. He loves me not.

As children, we used the Oxeye Daisy as a predictor of true love. As each “petal” was plucked we would chant hoping that the very last would be, “He loves me!”

Technically, those white bits aren’t really petals.  Daisies are a part of  the Asteraceae family which includes asters, goldenrod, and dandelions.  All of the blooms in this family are made up of many flowers.  The yellow ones in the middle of the daisy are called disk flowers, and the white ones are ray flowers.  The disk flowers are arranged in a particular pattern once described by mathematician Fibonacci.  (Click here for more information on that!)

Oxeye Daisy

The Oxeye Daisy is native to Europe, but has naturalized here in North America. In some states, it is considered a pest and there are recommendations for how to eradicate and what native plants to substitute.

I have snacked on the leaves; they taste rather lettuce-y. Some sources also list medicinal uses for the plant.

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I just think it’s pretty.

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