fotos of flora and fauna on the farm

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Jan 22, 2008
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elmer, nj
last sunday I went to the german, ny area to try and find some ragged fringed orchids and some of their possible hybrids and take some pictures; after looking around I could see that it had been too dry in the area for them to show up. they like to have wet roots in the early spring, and if the available water changes on a slope or hillsides, they will appear in different spots from year to year.

so, not to be completely deterred, I headed to my uncle's farm nearby in cincinnatus, ny to check out a large patch of milkweed that had started flowering, since they draw a lot of butterflies. I was also hoping to find a lot of water in the nearby gorge through the hillside so that I could make a water sounds recording (mood lifting); not much water but a few trickles merged together might make an acceptable alternative. also, the previous weekend I had visited with other family gathered there and had made some homemade ice cream, so was guessing that there still might be some left! ;)

nobody was home so I took some pics and did the recording and sure enough found enough ice cream for the three of us (aunt, uncle and myself) as they got back from dinner just as I finished up.

there were lots of honeybees in the milkweed patch, along with many different butterflies and lots of other insects that were after the very fragrant flowers. milkweed is the main food for the monarch butterfly caterpillars and the adult butterflies like the nectar from the flowers.


honeybees on milkweed flowers


two honeybees on a flower cluster. I was surprised that they allowed me to get inches away and weren't concerned at all with my presence. I was even walking right through the plants and they didn't bother me at all, though I was moving very slowly. hybrid honeybees aren't very aggressive if you don't act threateningly towards them. they even would share a flower cluster with other bees, bugs and butterflies


closeup of milkweed flowers


tiger swallowtail butterfly. there were many of these flying around, but was difficult to get very close. I also didn't have my longer lens with me since I was thinking I'd be taking pictures of orchid flowers that don't move away from you (except for when the breeze is blowing)


two fritillary butterflies (I think, feel free to make corrections) and a honeybee sharing a milkweed cluster


closer pic of fritillaries


another moth/butterfly that I didn't know the name of (Dot has volunteered that it is a Silver Spotted Skipper -thanks Dot!)


I believe another tiger or other swallowtail butterfly, quite large


you can see that the back of this butterflies' wings are damaged; likely it was attacked by a bird or two. often butterflies will have dots or such on the bottom of their wings, which can trick predators into striking at the wrong end of the insect. instead of catching the front, the bird will go for a retreating insect which though damaged can survive

there were a good number of monarch butterflies here from time to time, but I wasn't able to get close to them before they would head to another spot. the only time i've been able to get really close to them was once a few years ago in the fall when some monarchs had emerged from their cocoons the evening before and the very cool temps prevented them from expanding their wings and flying away. they were so cold and busy feeding from the nearby flowers that I was able to get inches away from them
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Cool Pictures, and nice close-ups! Thanks for sharing. At least there are still a lot of Butterflies here in the US. I was in the Netherlands two weeks ago, and my sister was telling me that a lot of Butterflies in the Netherlands have become extinct, so it is hard to see Butterflies nowadays there.

The one you don't know the name of is a Silver Spotted Skipper.

Three years ago, I had a wild milkweed plant come up in my front bed. I let it go to seed, and now I have a patch of milkweeds. They are wonderful -- attracting butterflies, bees and wasps of all kinds.

Most milkweed are a deep pink. I found one down by our pond that is white, and another that is a light pink. I guess I should photograph them.
ooo! :clap: i love milk weed! and of course my favorite butterfly is the monarch! when i was little i used to catch the caterpillars off the milkweed that grew in front of a house down the street then i would perch them on my shirt hop on my plastic pink and green bike and take my new found pets home and a few weeks later they would hatch into butterfly's, i used to stay up past my 8 o'clock bed time to see them hatch because for some strange reason they always hatched out in the evening.:D
Milkweeds are great! I used to have such a great collection of them. Some had no scent, and some were sticky sweet with fragrance. All attracted the butterflies.