Continuing my last walk…I came to the area that would be my base for the day. There is a favorite tree with exposed roots that you can sit under and remain cool and out of the sun. Previous visitors decorated this spot with many vertical sticks that give a fence-like impression. Here’s two views, first the base of this tree as seen from the outside:
…and a view from the inside. Over the years, I have left many small sculptures in this area. They never seem to last very long in here.
Last week was my birthday, and so on this outing I have new tools. Earlier in the year, I lost my handy two-bladed Swiss Army knife which was a previous gift from a friend. It had a nice, easy to sharpen blade and a toothy saw that could cut wood. Replacing that knife are these two objects. My family gave me the updated Swiss Army knife complete with tweezers and toothpick. My friend Jeff gave me the bigger saw. Its blade folds out and has the advantage of locking. I definitely can chew through a nicely sized limb with this baby!
On this particular trip, the heat and humidity put a damper on doing anything ambitious. I hung around this area for a couple of hours and made this guy who was checking out the butterflies in the purple loosestrife.
I found a little bit of Styrofoam to work with and this red plastic object that looks like a pipe. I used tiny plastic fishing bobbers for eyes and the ears are clam shells. Later because the shells kept falling off, I substituted a flat rock and sand-polished glass for the ears. It’s subtle and you might not notice this change at first. As for the place I was working at…last year the Purple Loosestrife was getting a foothold and now it is firmly entrenched. This is a hard to get rid of invasive plant that plays havoc in small wetlands like this one. The butterflies, however, love this weed.
Among the many species feeding from the purple flowers is this Tiger Swallowtail, Pterourus glaucus. This is a boldly patterned and large butterfly of summer. I have seen some beat up looking butterflies of different species and am assuming they are from an earlier brood that perhaps over-wintered here? The tiger swallowtail also has a common melanistic form and I also saw one of those out here today.
You can see the “tiger stripes” showing on his hind wing. Also working these flowers were the large bumble bees we saw earlier on the morning glories. I also observed several large, blue-black wasps that I associate with being spider hunters. They are so intent on gathering nectar that they pay no attention to me. All through the loosestrife insects were working the flowers. Clearly, this plant has no shortage of pollinators.
Mr. Red Pipe was enjoying himself in all this purple haze and humidity. There was something reassuring about watching all this insect life packed into a relatively small area. Another favorite butterfly is hanging on a loosestrife blossom not too far away and if we move deliberately…we might not spook it away.
It’s an Orange Sulphur, Colias eurytheme. We have several other members of the Sulphur family out here along with Viceroys, Red Admirals, and a couple different Skipper species. I love the yellow-green eyes on this butterfly which seem to have a glow to them.
All my water is gone and so the idea of returning to my car sets in. I have another bottle waiting for me there. Tomorrow is supposed to be another high temperature day in the 90’s. After our June being a record setter, it seems July is out for bragging rights too. Before leaving, I snap one more picture of the Purple Loosestrife in its prime with the railroad bridge visible in the far distance.
Read Full Post »