Butterflies & other survivors

Posted: September 27th, 2009 under photography, Plantlife, Wildlife.
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Though we lost the two planted cypresses to the drought, and some of the water iris we’d planted in the “swamp”, this one survived and is now coming back up from the corm.


The water here is about an inch deep–this is an overflow/seep channel off the main creek; 8.5 inches didn’t put more than a flood pulse through it, but the final 1.5 inches left this wide shallow pool…and a brave little iris.

The late-flowering thoroughwort, Eupatorium serotina, attracted several different kinds of small butterflies.

Here’s a Gray Hairstreak’s, Strymon melinus‘,  top view:


In some lights, there’s more bluish to the upper wing surface, but mostly they perch with their wings folded and all you see is the pale lower surface:


A surprise was the very coppery-looking Olive Juniper Hairstreak, Callophrys gryneus.  I usually see these in early spring, all over the wild plum flowers.


Most of ours are greener than this….there’s a variety of this species known as the Siva Juniper Hairstreak that’s browner-to-purply; the intergrading between varieties starts about here.  I’m not enough of a butterfly expert to know for sure.


Whichever it is, I love the delicate shadings of coppery-olive-gold, with the crisp black and white markings in addition.

At least two species of skipper were on the same flower clusters, and I don’t know what either of them is (haven’t had time to look them up yet.


And a slightly different angle on the same individual:


Skipper #2 was browner, with whiter markings:


Finally,  I was trying for a close-up of the flowers of a fall-flowering milkweed, and discovered that it was inhabited:


I had seen the ants crawling over the flowers and buds, but the spider’s legs (just visible at the base of the flower) I didn’t see until I looked at the shot in the computer.    This milkweed is Zizotes, or Asclepias oenotheroides; the leaves are wavy-edged with a dull pink margin.

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