First 2010 Rain, New Species

Posted: January 17th, 2010 under Activities, Land, Plantlife, Water, Wildlife.
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We’d had some sprinkles, but the first real rain came Thursday & Friday, about two inches, and set the secondary drainage flowing across the near meadow again.  Creek was up and a little turbid, but the flow in the grass was crystal clear.   Today, I finally photographed a common (supposedly) species of butterfly around here, which I’d never been able to catch in the lens.

goatweed-anglewing335This is a male Goatweed Leafwing, Anaca andria, and it commonly perches with wings folded–looking like a dead leaf, and also a lot like a Question Mark butterfly except minus the silvery question mark.  Notice how the shading around the wing margins, where not contrasting against dark shadow,  melds into the bark on that stump.  The females have more dark markings on the orange wings.

It fairly glows when backlit by the sun:


You can just see the “tongue” probing into a crease in the wood–it drinks sap, rotting fruit, etc.   I think it’s exploring the bread (below) because this was bread that had gone a bit moldy and had been relegated to the bird feeding area.

goatweed-anglewing345 After checking out several breadcrumbs, it climbed onto a larger hunk and explored the holes in it.   This is the 64th species of butterfly we’ve found on the place, and the 54th that I’ve been able to photograph (some very identifiable butterflies simply don’t hold still long enough to photograph.)

Yesterday’s exploration of the rain-sodden land produced few photographs because it was fairly dark with thick clouds by the time we got outside (a “lid” blew over us before we got to the dry woods, in fact.)   However, I did take a few, and managed not to slip and fall (with camera) into the creek trying to get up and down the mudbank on one side–it was a near thing.


Looking south from the north-fence maintenance trail, west of the creek, water flows in from neighboring property…the tall grasses are switchgrass that we planted.  This area is beginning to function as a ‘sponge’ again.


This is one of the inflow streams (N-fenceline on left, water flows to right), and below is farther south in the NW meadow, near the head of the gully system that drains eventually into the creek:


Water here is moving away from the camera; the tallest grasses here (switchgrass and Lindheimer muhly) are either planted or have started from seed of plantings; the gully system has changed a lot since we bought the place, both widening through slump and grassing-in as the slopes lessened.    It’s now a series of pools with little “streams” between them.   Expanding are Indiangrass (some was here) and little bluestem as well as native forbs.

Storms bring damage as well as desirable water; the west fenceline is a problem area for several reasons.  Westbrook comes in from that side, and runoff from another neighbor’s field scours groundcover in the west woods as well as feeding Westbrook.  And then there are the dead trees (from drought) that always choose fence to fall on.


You can see the debris caught in the bottom of the fence, and the scouring on our side as well as limbs down on the fence itself.

Still, we’re glad to see the soil fat with moisture and the cool-weather grasses and forbs bulking up for spring.  The native coral honeysuckle in the west woods is already blooming, even after the hard freezes last week.


This picture was taken January 1,  as yesterday was too dark for the color to show well.  We were surprised to see it looking that good.


  • Comment by Kathleen — January 19, 2010 @ 7:17 am


    I like the wing shape on the butterfly.

  • Comment by elizabeth — January 19, 2010 @ 7:21 am


    So do I…there’s that whole group of “angle-wings” or “leaf-wings” that have interestingly shaped wings.

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