Monthly Archives: May 2007

More Butterflies

I’ve been particularly lucky photographing butterflies this week. This lovely butterfly is what a friend of mine refers to as one of the “punctuation butterflies”, in this case the Question Mark.

From this view, you can’t actually see the question mark, which is a tiny, and I mean tiny, silvery mark on the underside of the hindwing.

This lovely little butterfly is the Little Wood-Satyr. Satyrs and Nymphs have a particular type of flight that looks like they’re being tugged up on a string then drop back down. Kind of a floppy flight. This particular satyr feeds on tree sap and aphid honeydew, only infrequently on flower nectar

This last butterfly, I admit, I’ve been stalking. I’ve been trying unsuccessfully to get a good look at it, let alone photograph it, but my luck held on the weekend. This is the Black Swallowtail, Oklahoma’s State Butterfly.

This is a male, and has a four inch wingspan. Black Swallowtails will lay their eggs on dill and fennel, which I have planted in my garden.


And more wildflowers

I introduced you to this spiny plant in my last wildflower posting, Texas Mala Mujer. Since then, I’ve discovered a few more interesting facts about the plant. First, the Oklahoman common name is Bull Nettle. Second, the flowers have an incredible smell. Lastly, hummingbirds feed on them.

I wandered into a veritable field of these beauties, in the deep sand behind the house, during my weekly walkabout. While I was enjoying the smell, a little hummingbird came buzzing by stopping at every flower.

I found Goat’s Beard along side the Bull Nettle. The flower is not particularly impressive but the seed heads look like dandelion puffballs on steroids, about the size of a tennis ball.

In my clay soil I found Horse Nettle, a member of the tomato family. In the fall it will produce poisonous yellow fruit. Something to look forward to.

This Slender Day-flower was also found in the heavier soil. As the name suggests each flower lasts a day. Luckily, a plant will produce many flowers throughout the growing season.

Daisy Fleabane is coming up here and there on the property, most are along the roadside. Apparently, Native Americans would use the smoke from this plant as an effective repellent of fleas and gnats.

The understory of woods behind the house is now dotted with blooming trees. This is a native dogwood tree, the Rough-leaved Dogwood. Later in the year it will produce berries the birds enjoy.

Out front I found my first Indian Paint Brush. This flower has been blooming along the roadsides for weeks now and I had already put this species down on my “seeds to order” list. I happened to be checking on the Scissortail nest, and discovered the lone Paint Brush.

This last flower deserves more than one photo, because it’s my absolute favorite. I love the color. This one is appropriately named Wine Cup, and it’s a member of the Mallow family, related to Hollyhocks. I thought I’d have to put this one on the “seeds to buy” list as well, but I’ve discovered three healthy patches so far.

This week has been somewhat frustrating in the plant identification department. I’ve photographed at least 5 other flowers that I’ve been unable to identify. I’m hoping to enlist the help of the local Native Plant Society.

Oh! Pardon me!

While walking the property, looking for new wildflowers, I accidentally disturbed this couple…well…um… coupling.

It’s mating season and the turtles are on the move, unfortunately many of them are casualties of inattentive or uncaring drivers. It’s nice to see live three-toed box turtles for a change.

First in, First out

The toads and chorus frogs were the first to use the pond this spring for their breeding and now we see the results. We’ve been inundated by tiny creatures from our pond. The one on the right is a tiny dwarf American toad. The even smaller one on the left is the Strecker’s chorus frog.

There’s plenty more brewing in the pond. It’s practically seething with tadpoles!