Saturday, April 7, 2012

More to see than just flowers

Today was a great day spent with great folks among great nature. I traveled over to Adams County to meet up with some like-minded folk for what has become an annual early spring gathering to check out the fantastic flora in that part of the state. As is often the case on outings like this, what was originally billed as a foray to look at spring wildflowers turned out to be much more than that. We enjoyed plenty of flora, to be sure, but all manner of fauna was appreciated as well.

This unseasonably warm spring that we've had has brought lots of butterflies out already. We saw many species today, many of which were in constant motion and impossible to track down with a camera. But there were a few very cooperative specimens, which I will share here.

An Eastern-tailed Blue, Cupido comyntas. Since this one was under the shade of a leaf the colors didn't come out as brilliantly as they might have if it were in the light, but you can still see that it's a charming little butterfly.

We came across another equally charming, but much more brilliant-colored butterfly right after lunch, and this one was a first for me.

This is a Juniper Hairstreak (or Olive Hairstreak, depending on who you ask), Callophrys gryneus. It stayed in this mud puddle for a very long time while we all ooohed and ahhhed over it and shot plenty of photos. Isn't it beautiful? The colors are so saturated that the photographs of it almost look fake.

Here, intrepid blogger and stunt butterfly handler extraordinaire, Jim McCormac, holds the hairstreak on his finger to give a sense of the scale of this tiny creature. I am happy to report that Jim's finger came out of this unscathed. No naturalists (or butterflies) were harmed in the making of this photo.

More fantastic finds coming up!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Who's looking at you?

Can you identify these eyes?

Here's a hint:
These "eyes" are a defense mechanism meant to scare away predators. Did they scare YOU?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Mother Nature airs her dirty laundry

I've never been one for pulling pranks on April Fool's Day, and I'm not about to start now. However, after looking at some wildflower photos I took today, I couldn't resist sharing a few images that are joke-worthy all on their own.

One flower that is prolifically in bloom right now is Dutchman's Breeches. Unfortunately, these pendulous pairs of pantaloons can be tricky to photograph. Being white flowers, any imperfections show up very easily, so getting a nice "clean" set of of breeches is somewhat of a challenge. Some fun can be had with the bad shots, though. Due to the way the flowers dangle on the stalk, it's easy to infer the notion of laundry hanging out on the line.

For example, the dingy pair hanging off to the right looks like it was soaked in tea or coffee for a while, and just wouldn't quite come clean. Those stubborn stains!

I call this the "poopy diaper" shot. Shouldn't take too much of a stretch of the imagination to figure out why.

I didn't come away with too many shots of this flower that I particularly liked, but here's one shot where someone got the bleach right and all the pants are clean:

Happy April! Get out there and smell the dirty diapers wildflowers!