Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Moth: Discolored Renia (Renia discoloralis)

The Discolored Renia appears to be the most common moth in the woods at our place in the spring…

They are interesting moths. They look like tiny Concorde airplanes. So well camouflaged, I usually don’t see them before they take off and fly a little distance although in a less-streamlined manner than a Concorde. In almost 100% of instances they land facing back towards they way them came.

Identification resource:

- Bug guide: Discolored Renia moth (Renia discoloralis)
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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Hover Fly (Toxomerus occidentalis)

These flies are quite small; about one-half inch in length. They have big eyes and a pretty pattern on their backs. They are quite common in the spring and fall. I’ve seen them on many types of flowers.

These flies are a little hard to sneak up on; I was surprised that this one allowed me to get close enough to get a photo with a macro setting.

Identificaton resource:
- Bug Guide: Toxomerus occidentalis
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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Butterfly: Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebis sennae)

I saw Cloudless Sulphur in the butterfly bush the other night. I couldn’t get a good shot but remembered that I had seen a pair mating beside where we vanpoolers park our cars during the day.

Identification resource:
- West Central Georgia Butterflies by Michael Beohm: Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebis sennae)

- BugGuide: Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebis sennae)
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Zen: Sunrise

On the way to the lake this morning ...

Friday, June 26, 2009

Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina)

I’ve seen two Eastern Box turtles this year. The first time, pictured here, it was crossing the path that runs along beside the creek. I almost missed it as it was camouflaged in the shade against the leaf litter. I took these photographs and continued along to the pool. I didn’t spend very long at the pool and fully expected to see the turtle on my way back. But it made tracks after I left; I didn’t see it again.

I saw the second turtle on the path just below the house. She was in the process of digging a hole and looked to be about ready to lay her eggs. I took this photo and went on down to the creek.

I was hoping that she would have finished laying by the time I came back up the path. I planned to mark the place so that we could monitor it until the eggs hatched. Unfortunately, or fortunately, she chose not to lay the eggs there. She had abandoned the hole when I came back up the path. This wasn’t really the best place to lay eggs.

This isn’t the first time that Eastern Box turtles have laid eggs on our property. Soon after we moved here in the mid1980s, we discovered three hatchlings emerging from a nest not more than 50 ft from the house.

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Juvenal’s Duskywing (Erynnis juvenalis)

I saw my first Juvenal’s Duskywing in the spring when the blueberries were blooming – the same day that I photographed the Olive Hairstreak. It was late afternoon and the light wasn’t good. I got a shot but it wasn’t sharp and, in retrospect, the duskywings’ colors were somewhat faded.

Recently a duskywing has been visiting the butterfly bush. Its’ markings are bright.

Identification resources:
- West Central Georgia Butterflies by Michael Beohm: Juvenal’s Duskywing (Erynnis juvenalis)
- BugGuide: Juvenal’s Duskywing (Erynnis juvenalis)
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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

White-marked Tussock Moth (Orgyia leucostigma)

This caterpillar was making it’s way across the path in the woods. I almost stepped on it.

Identification resource:
- Bug Guide: White-marked Tussock Moth (Orgyia leucostigma)

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Butterfly: Cabbage White (Pieris rapae)

I’m normally not a big fan of white and yellow butterflies. They are continually on the move and don’t settle long enough to be photographed and identified. But I couldn’t resist the opportunity to photograph this one that was working flowers in a small area. It worked back and forth between different flowers and, although I had to stalk it for a while, I got a couple of good pictures.

Identification resources:
- West Central Georgia Butterflies by Michael Beohm: Cabbage White (Pieris rapae)
- BugGuide: Cabbage White (Pieris rapae)
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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Southern Leopard Frog: Rana sphenocephala

Moving in or overnight guest?

Last night as we were leaving for dinner, W noticed this Southern Leopard frog sitting on the edge of the whiskey barrel. I had my camera with me and managed to get this shot; it’ s not the greatest but it was taken in low light. When I tried to get closer, the frog slipped gracefully into the water and out of sight.

When we got back, I checked again. There it was, sitting half out of the water. I managed to get much closer and used flash to get a shot. Apparently it felt much safer in the dark. It didn’t move.

When I checked this morning, it didn’t appear to be there. Just an overnight guest, I guess.

Identification resource:
- Frogs and Toads of Georgia: Southern Leopard Frog (Rana sphenocephala)

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Carolina Satyr (Hermeuptychia sosybius)

The Carolina Satyr is the most common butterfly in, and around the edge of the woods in the spring.

Usually they rest with their wings folded.

Occasionally, particularly when it is cold, they will rest with open wings in a sunny spot in the woods to absorb the warmth.

Identification resources:
- West Central Georgia Butterflies by Michael Beohm: Carolina Satyr (Hermeuptychia sosybius)
- BugGuide: Carolina Satyr (Hermeuptychia sosybius)

Click on an image to view a larger image

Monday, June 15, 2009

Lake Rescue: Treehopper (Smilia camelus)

This little guy might have gone unnoticed if it hadn’t been for it’s bright lime-green stripe. And for it’s small size, it required a considerable effort to rescue. Two rounds, in fact.

I rescued it once and, in attempting to fly off, it ended up in the water again.

Treehopper (Smilia camelus)

Finally I got it onto an oar shaft. It rode around the lake on my shoulder.

Identification resource:
- BugGuide: Treehopper (Smilia camelus)

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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Cope's Gray Treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis)

Every year Cope’s Gray treefrogs (Hyla chrysoscelis) gather at small pools to breed between May and July. More than two dozen gather and lay eggs in small water containers on our patio. We see the tadpoles as they develop but rarely see them leave the water. Our patio has been the main gathering site in our area until recently when a subdivision was developed nearby and another small shallow pool area, in the form of a water retention pond, was built directly across from the corner of our property. This pond has provided another breeding pond for Upland Chorus frogs (Pseudacris feriarum) and Cope’s Gray treefrogs.

Cope's Gray Treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis) – Juvenile

Yesterday as I was photographing the Common Buckeye butterflies, I spotted this juvenile Cope’s Gray treefrog. It was about 0.5- to 0.75-inches long. It was resting in the sun so it’s color pattern is not as distinct as it would be in the shade. It had probably come from the retention pond approximately 50 yards along the road.

Identification resource:
- Frogs and Toads of Georgia: Cope’s Gray Treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis)

Click on the image to view a larger image.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)

Butterflies have begun to visit the flowering Buddleia davidii. Yesterday morning, more than half a dozen Common Buckeyes were working the flowers.

Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)

They were almost tame. They would fly to another flower if I got too close but then they would fly back in to a branch directly beside me. They are calm enough that I was able to take this shot with a macro lens.

Identification resources:
- West Central Georgia Butterflies by Michael Beohm: Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)
- BugGuide:
Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)

Click on the image to view a larger image

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Dragonfly: Lancet Clubtail (Gomphus exilis)

Lancet Clubtail (Gomphus exilis) - Male

You’ll have to click on this image and view the larger image to appreciate this shot and, even then, it’s difficult to see this one. I almost missed getting the shot. This dragonfly blends so well with it’s background. I saw it land but had to move around behind it to get a ‘straight-on’ shot. I didn’t keep my eyes on it while I was moving and it took some considerable effort to spot it again.

Identification resources:
- BugGuide: Lancet Clubtail (Gomphus exilis)
- Georgia Dragonfly Survey: Lancet Clubtail (Gomphus exilis)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Dragonfly: Blue Corporal (Ladona deplanata)

Blue Corporal (Ladona deplanata) - Female

Identification resources:
- BugGuide: Corporals, Genus Ladona

- Georgia Dragonfly Survey: Blue Corporal (Ladona deplanata)
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Monday, June 8, 2009

Red-banded Hairstreak (Calycopis cecrops)

Red-banded Hairstreak (Calycopis cecrops)

Identification resources:
- West Central Georgia Butterflies by Michael Beohm: Red-banded Hairstreak
- BugGuide:
Butterflies, Hairstreaks

Click on the image to view a larger image

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Green Anole: ‘Cept She’s Brown

She was sitting on a dead Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii) flower. That’s why I didn’t see her. She must have moved and that movement caught my eye. She’s probably a Green Anole (Anolis carolinensis); she’s turned brown to adapt to her background.

She’s a female; she doesn’t have the pink dewlap that the male displays. She tried to threaten me anyway. I didn’t see the threat because of the sun’s glare on the camera viewer. I just took shots and hoped they’d come out. She gradually moved off along the stem to the cover of the bush.

She’s a beautiful creature.

Identification resource: Lizards of Georgia and South Carolina
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Saturday, June 6, 2009

Peace in the blueberries: Butterflies

While the bees and wasps were working the flowers and providing sound effects, the blueberries had a couple of silent visitors.

Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)

A Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) stopped by for a very brief moment. She had hardly landed and she was off again. I barely got the one photo.

Olive Hairstreak (Callophrys gryneus)

On th other hand, an Olive Hairstreak (Callophrys gryneus) stayed for quite a long time. I almost didn’t notice it since it is a small butterfly, about 3/4-in long, and it was moving quietly and spending quite some time at each bloom. This particular butterfly was very patient and gave the impression of being oblivious to the fact that I had the macro lens almost touching it. Interestingly, this specimen doesn't have much olive color. It also took some time to identify since I was looking for the color rather than the markings. Once I concentrated on the markings, I quickly identified it.

Additional identification resouces: Bugguide.net
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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Mayhem in the Blueberries: Bees and Wasps

When the blueberries were in full bloom, the bushes seemed to be humming. At first glance, it looked like a mixture of just honey bees and bumblebees were responsible for the sound. Closer inspection showed that

European honey bee (Apis mellifera)

European honey bees (Apis mellifera) and

Eastern Carpenter bee (Xylocopa virginica)

Eastern Carpenter bees (Xylocopa virginica) – not bumblebees - were responsible for most of the activity.

Common Eastern Bumblebee (Bombus impatiens)

Common Eastern Bumblebees (Bombus impatiens) were in a minority compared with the other two.

A few halictid bees (Lasioglossum sp.) – ‘left over’ from their earlier pollination activities in the pear trees where they were the only bees working the flowers – and Northern Paper Wasps (Polistes fuscatus) were working the blueberries.

Obviously they did a good job.

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