Saturday, September 01, 2007

Butterflies in Somerset County

As I was photographing dragonflies and wildflowers at Buck Gardens in Far Hills, this great spangled fritillary landed on my hand. My sister, Sarah, took a photo while it sat and flapped its wings in the sun. As you can see, some bird (perhaps an eastern phoebe that we saw nearby) just missed making a meal of it.

Several garden plots have stands of Joe Pye Weed. These plants proved popular with a small dark butterfly. I think it is a wild indigo duskywing, but I would take arguments to the contrary as the duskywings are mostly very similar.

Zabulon skippers were out and about this afternoon at Lord Stirling Park in Basking Ridge. (Lord Stirling Park is Somerset County's portion of the Great Swamp.) Here are a female and a male.

This large yellow spider made a meal out of a small butterfly, perhaps a least skipper (of which I saw several). (If you know what the spider is, please mention it in the comments.)

A pearl crescent was sunning itself and flapping its wings in a mud puddle on the path. It took me a lot of attempts to get a photograph with the wings open.

Several brown butterflies flitted past during the walk at Lord Stirling. I got a picture of this one, an eyed brown. We also recorded a few common wood-nymphs for the day.

The bird turnout at the two spots was rather lackluster, perhaps because of the time (late morning / early afternoon). Migration is clearly underway, as we had a magnolia warbler at the Buck Gardens and then redstart and black-throated blue warblers at Lord Stirling Park. One small mixed flock at the latter location accounts for most of the day's bird sightings.

Turkey Vulture
Cooper's Hawk
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Eastern Phoebe
Eastern Kingbird
Barn Swallow
Gray Catbird
American Robin
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Blue Jay
Red-eyed Vireo
American Goldfinch
Magnolia Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
American Redstart
Common Yellowthroat
Northern Cardinal

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
Cabbage White
Great Spangled Fritillary
Pearl Crescent
Eyed Brown
Common Wood-Nymph
Silver-spotted Skipper
Wild Indigo Duskywing
Least Skipper
Zabulon Skipper