A Little Dose of Butterfly

I spent about six and a half hours in a car today–most of it for work.  Nothing wears me out quite as much as driving or riding in a car for hours.  My muscles stiffen up and I find it hard to walk when I get out.

But I wandered around the yard with my camera.  Red admirals are the most common butterfly right now, and I got several shots of this one as it perched on a dame’s rocket.

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Butterflies get me back to the place I want to be.

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Asparagus

We have some asparagus which has flowered and is going to seed.

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Asparagus has been used by florists as greenery in funeral bouquets.  As a result, it often grows wild in cemeteries,  especially around the fences in rural cemeteries.  When I was a child, my mother would take us to a couple of local ones to pick the wild asparagus.  It was not a big part of the local diet so my friends never knew what it was when I talked about it.

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This is a beautiful plant.

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Going Through Old Photos

I usually don’t write about my family here, but my youngest son Eric is going to graduate high school in a couple of weeks, and I have been going through some old photos for his party.

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This is Eric.

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Here is the whole crew–Max, Eric, and Darina.

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The old photos have sort of a comic-strip quality to them–they remind me of the old Calvin and Hobbs strip.  There is an innocence, mixed with some potential for absolute chaos.

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I remember how much fun the journey has been.DSC_0093

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But I’m tired now.  I think I will take a nap.

 

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Lichens on Bone with Mite

I like to photograph lichens after or even during rain.  When wet, lichens swell up and have very bright colors.

These lichens were dry and on a deer skull.5-7-160002

Even when dry, they have an interesting look.

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First of the Year Butterflies

I had some business to do today so I took a day off from work.  I got some first-of-the year butterflies:  First photographed for all of them, first seen for the eastern comma and American lady.

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First, the eastern comma.

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The American lady.

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I saw a few eastern tailed-blues yesterday and was able to photograph one today.

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Enduring the Rain

We have had cool rainy weather here for at least four days.  It is getting pretty old.  This afternoon the rain quit for a while and the sun came out, but it was still cool.  I walked around a little with my camera.  I photographed the wet lichens on a tree trunk.

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I did not see the springtail until after I uploaded the picture onto my computer.

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It is hard to notice the flowers blooming when we see constant rain.  This is dame’s rocket, an alien weed that is often included in wildflower mixes.

I did not get my recommended daily amount of macro photography, but I did at least get the knees of my jeans wet.

 

 

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Dandelions

I got into a discussion with some co-workers about dandelions, and the value of spending time removing them from lawns.

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They expressed that it gave them pleasure to remove all of the dandelions from their lawns.

I spent some time on my dandelions yesterday.

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I did not end up with a uniform green lawn.  But I had a pretty good dandelion break.

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They are Putting an Illegal on the Twenty Dollar Bill

They are planning on putting the face of an Illegal on the twenty dollar bill.

She was not a citizen.  She crossed borders illegally.  Not only that, she recruited others for her illegal activity.  She snuck around at night committing her crimes.  It is not known if she actually killed anyone, but she did threaten people with a gun.

She was a human smuggler.

She did not follow the rule of law.  She aided and abetted John Brown in his armed insurrection.

Her legal status was “property.”

She is replacing Andrew Jackson.

And it is about time.

 

 

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Henry’s Elfin

I chase butterflies.  There are some I have chased for years and have not yet seen.  Until last year, Henry’s elfin, Callophrys henrici, was one of those butterflies.  This butterfly might not be rare, but it is rarely seen.  It emerges as an adult in mid-April, and lives as an adult for only a week or so.  Its host plant in Iowa is redbud.

Last year I hung out by some redbud trees in Cordova Park, near Lake Red Rock, Iowa.  I saw a couple, and was able to get a photo that when enlarged showed the distinctive hind wing of the butterfly.  The butterfly could be identified but the photo was not especially good.

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Aaron Brees had blogged about finding the species in another park, Elk Rock State Park adjacent to Lake Red Rock, and gave me a hint about where to look.  So this year I took his information and went there.  I don’t think I found the spot he mentioned, because I saw no redbuds or the sand prairie.  I did, however, find several individuals of my target species along a horse trail in the park.

They are tiny butterflies and they appear black when flying.  Typically they land on the edge of a branch or a stick adjacent to the trail, and bask at a right angle to the sun.  When they encounter another individual they fly off in a circling chase and eventually return, sometimes to the same spot.

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I think what I saw were males exhibiting a sort of territorial behavior.  I saw up to three at a time, and I think there were about a half dozen in the small area.

They were difficult to photograph because of the wind, but I increased my chances by taking fifty photos.  A few good ones were mixed in with the not-so-good.

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I also saw a couple of cabbage whites and too many red admirals to count.

This was a good butterfly day.

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First Butterfly of the Year (For Me)

We have had reports of butterflies here in Iowa since the last week in February–unusually early.  I did not see my first butterfly until yesterday, however.

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Yesterday I saw red admirals.  There were at least three, and they chased each other around the yard.  I even got a few photos.

I am happy to see them.

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