Monday, August 19, 2013

Hereford Lighthouse Gardens

Today, I visited the Hereford Lighthouse Gardens in North Wildwood.  Normally, I would have visited earlier in the year but life got in my way this year.  The gardens were not at their peak but I was actually more interested in looking at the butterflies and dragonflies this year.  It would be great to get a macro lens for my photography. Here are a few pictures.
Common Buckeye Butterfly

Cabbage White
Cloudless Sulphur

White M Hairstreak

Eastern tailed Blue Butterfly

Friday, August 16, 2013

Butterflies increasing

It's been a long summer with very few butterflies in the yard.  This is probably because it's been cool with frequent rain.  We are slowly seeing more species of butterflies but the numbers still continue to be low in each group.  Recent butterflies include 2 new yard species - Common Sooty Wing Skipper (picture courtesy W. Kerling)  & Common Wood-Nymph.  Other returning butterflies include Varigated Fritillary, Question Mark and Red Admiral.  We also are seeing more Monarchs, Cabbage White, Black Eastern Swallowtails.

Common Wood Nymph

Varigated Fritillary

We are finally seeing some of the butterflies nectar on the rotten fruit we have been putting out all summer.
Red Admiral
Question Mark

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Circle of Life - Monarch Butterflies

After a very slow start the Monarch activity in my yard is picking up.  I have mating Monarchs almost daily plus small and large caterpillars on my milkweed.  I have chrysalis at the edge of my house and 3 in one of my Verbena bonariensis.  Today, I had a Monarch emerge from the chrysalis. I missed the actual process but saw the Monarch drying her wings while hanging there.  It is so cool.

Monarch can be seen through the chrysalis.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Skimmer Salt Marsh Safari trip

Today's adventure included lunch at Lucky Bones with a high school friend and her significant other.  We get together every year when they are vacationing in my area.  Some years we go out on the Skimmer to look at the birds in the back bays and other years we go kayaking.  This year it was the Skimmer's turn.  It was a fun afternoon filled with great looks at shorebirds. Snowy Egrets and Ospreys numbered in the teens.  Here are a selection of pictures.
Snowy Egret
Great Egret
Clapper Rail

Mom just brought me a snack - Common Tern
Dad and Junior Osprey

Sunday, August 4, 2013

New butterflies in the garden

Zabulon Skipper - female
The past 2 days have seen 2 new life species of butterflies in my gardens.  This is great because the overall numbers of butterflies for me are way down this year.  I have now had 13 species of butterflies in 2013 compared to about 25 species last year.  The 2 new species are Zabulon Skippers  - both males and females plus Red-banded Hairstreak.  I am going to be out looking more often because just maybe these butterflies were here in 2012 and I just missed seeing them.  The Red-banded Hairstreak is just about 1/4" in size so it's very easy to overlook.

Zabulon Skipper - male
Red-banded Hairstreak