Sunday, October 23, 2005

On the Wing

Gulf Fritillary

We are north of Wilma's "cone" of possibility (even NOAA has us north of it now; for days we'd been just inside theirs, though significantly north of the Weather Channel's). We're under a tropical storm warning until Monday afternoon (shortened from Monday night) and don't expect anything out of the ordinary, but have brewed a 35-cup pot of coffee and will be filling a few water bottles in case the power goes out. We've had our other "hurricane supplies" in place since June....

Rain held off yesterday, which gave me a chance to get in some shots. I swung by the postage stamp-sized "wild" area where I'd taken most of the photos in Patch of Wonders. This time I got some glimpses of a gulf fritillary and more zippy long-tailed skippers.

According to our Audubon Society Field Guide to Insects and Spiders, the gulf fritillary caterpillar eats passion flower foliage. Flight is spring through fall, and throughout the year in Florida. "Because caterpillars eat passion flower foliage, both the caterpillars and butterflies contain a poisonous chemical, and their predators soon learn to leave them alone." The butterfly here is sampling nectar from a lantana.

What looks like a forest is actually a small wild patch between the post office and the supermarket. A few short steps and you're in a housing project on one side, a strip mall on the other.

On my way home a buckeye butterfly actually held still for me long enough to shoot, before I caught the blur of its takeoff.

Flight is in midsummer to fall. Caterpillar feeds on snapdragon, monkey flower, plantain, stonecrop, and other low herbs. Says the field guide, "The Buckeye flies swiftly if disturbed. Males dash after others of their own and different species and even chase Carolina Locusts."

And another shot of the prior entry's magnolia seed pod, which fascinates me. Some of those seeds look like holiday lights.

I'm off to treadmill to the Weather Channel....


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gotta have that coffee!

Treadmill to the weather channel...I love it. Sounds like the title of something or a good jumping off point...or maybe just an excellent visual.

7:28 PM  

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