Sunday, May 31, 2015

Counting Butterflies, Noticing Other Species -- Saturday, May 30

At the wildlife management area along a utility easement near Lake Kittamaqundi, my area of responsibility in the annual Howard County butterfly survey. To the booming and thumping coming from the event at Merriweather Post Pavilion this weekend.

I will focus on butterfly identifications in the following photographs, but these Ebony Jewelwing Damselflies are everywhere now. White spot on the edge of the wing means it's a female. These are different individuals in the first two photos here.

[Identification corrections have been added in brackets following consultation with the survey experts.]

A Spicebush Swallowtail in flight and not settling down anywhere for a good photo.

Two male Zabulon Skippers. [Maybe one is Zabulon, and the other is something else.]

Silver-Spotted Skipper.

Red Admiral, the only one spotted on this walk. I saw what I believe was the same one on my way back through the area.

The only Pearl Crescent seen on this walk -- after so many when I walked through here with the survey coordinator last weekend!

Two Golden-Backed Snipe Flies. So alien to me when I saw my first one last weekend, and now the area seems to be golden-backed snipe fly habitat.

Bad shot of a skipper here, probably male Zabulon. Sorry for any redundant photos -- it's helping me keep count. By the way, the plants here look like the invasive grass species abundant along the easement.

For my reference, the photo above was one of several attempts to catch shots of numerous Little Wood-Satyr butterflies scurrying all over this part of the ground and never stopping. Ironically, last weekend's single Little Wood-Satyr seen near this spot sat still for a long time and allowed multiple shots for my friend and me.

I'm simply surprised by the sight of a hummingbird perched so high and in the open. Maybe it's looking for a hummingbird feeder.

A Swallowtail, possibly Spicebush, fluttered around the top of this black willow for a long time. [No, it's a Red-Spotted Purple.]

After following butterflies in flight and a few frustrating misses, as I was walking out of the area this one landed right beside me and permitted several photos. It looks like an Eastern Comma, perhaps the summer form. [No, it's a Question Mark.]

Any butterflies I happen to see in my own garden or my neighbors' gardens here in Columbia Town Center can be included in my count, so I'm counting this Silver-Spotted Skipper seen on my neighbor's flowers as I returned home.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

butterfly counting catch-up post

Four different days covered here, starting last Saturday and ending Thursday. I will make a separate post for a walk at the other area which I did today -- the wildlife management area close to the lake featured in a previous post.

Don't forget that you can click open any photo for a larger view and then have the option to click through a slide presentation.

I'm getting Stendhal's syndrome from photographing and attempting to identify skippers, but I think I'm dealing mainly with Zabulon Skippers, and mainly male Zabulon. Silver-Spotted Skippers are the easiest to identify now -- probably the largest skipper species in this region?

Saturday, May 23, around Lake Kittamaqundi. Counted maybe over a dozen skippers, probably mostly male Zabulon. Early evening. (This is the same day I photographed and made a video of the mating black rat snakes next to the path, a couple of posts ago.)


Monday, May 25: Already posted this Eastern Comma....

Tuesday, May 26: Probably the same Eastern Comma individual at the same place and time on the lake path.

A lot of this going on: Either Summer Azures or Eastern Tailed-Blues (ETB's) are fluttering around and allowing no photo ops. This one landed, but you can't see whether it has the orange spot on the hind wing which signals ETB.


Thursday, May 28

Three Spicebush Swallowtails at the Lake in the morning. My photos show the same individual in flight and nectaring on honeysuckle.

Following, on the same walk -- the same day that I photographed the oriole singing and preening in another recent post. Best shots of individual; no more than one shot of each. If I post more than one individual of the same species, it's helping me keep count. Some of these may have to be labelled correctly later...

Silver-Spotted Skipper

Least Skipper?

Two male Zabulon Skippers

A Sulphur. After fluttering around a bit, this one stayed put on this grass for a while, allowing several shots, albeit obstructed. I wonder if it's a female laying eggs.

Another male Zabulon Skipper.

Eupatorium species all around the lake will bloom later this summer, and maybe they will attract more of the larger butterflies than last summer.

Another Silver-Spotted skipper, in flight.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Baltimore Oriole Singing and Preening Lake Kittamaqundi today.

Hawk and Prey

Multiple views of the same scene, but I decided to document all poses (plus different effects of light) rather than try to pick the best shots. Monday evening on Vantage Point Road in Columbia Town Center, right by the junction with 175 (just after my first sighting of the Eastern Comma butterfly in previous post). I heard the smaller bird squealing as it was caught -- couldn't see whether the hawk caught it in flight or came up from behind while it was perched. Cooper's or Sharp-Shinned hawk? I am going with Cooper's based on what looks like a broader white edge on the tail, but I will confirm identification with an authority.

As the hawk was feeding, a blue jay perched close to the top of the same tree and began sounding the alarm. The hawk eventually flew somewhere else with its meal.