Archive for May, 2012

Painted Lady butterfly

May 31, 2012

A Painted Lady butterfly (Vanessa cardui) feeding on Purple Milkweed (Asclepias purpurascens). I spotted this individual during a photowalk through Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA.

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The park manager at Huntley Meadows designated Purple Milkweed as a “plant of interest,” due to the fact that it is officially a rare plant species in the state of Virginia (S2) [see p. 10]. Purple Milkweed plants flower from May to June in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Copyright © 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com

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Eastern Pondhawk dragonfly (female)

May 29, 2012

One of eight female Eastern Pondhawk dragonflies (Erythemis simplicicollis) that I spotted in a meadow far from the wetland area at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. Notice that the Eastern Pondhawk perches on four of six legs, with the two front legs curled around its head.

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Copyright © 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com

Red-winged Blackbird (male, calling)

May 27, 2012

A Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) spotted during a photowalk through Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a male, as indicated by its red and yellow shoulder patches, calling its mate.

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Copyright © 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com

Great Blue Skimmer dragonflies (immature males)

May 25, 2012

The following photos show an immature male Great Blue Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula vibrans) spotted during a photowalk through Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA on 18 May 2012. This individual, possibly a teneral, was perched on grass in a meadow located at least 100 yards from the wetlands.

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I spotted another Great Blue Skimmer dragonfly, shown in the following gallery, in the same meadow on 17 May 2012. This individual is an immature male, based upon the appearance of the terminal appendages at the end of its abdomen.

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Copyright © 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com

Great Spangled Fritillary butterfly

May 23, 2012

Great Spangled Fritillary butterflies (Speyeria cybele) spotted during two photowalks through Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. These individuals are feeding on Purple Milkweed flowers (Asclepias purpurascens). See also “Purple Milkweed,” formerly posted on my Posterous photoblog.

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Copyright © 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com

Spangled Skimmer dragonfly (female)

May 21, 2012

A Spangled Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula cyanea) spotted during a photowalk through Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. I got one shot of this beautiful female before she flew away — I was SO LUCKY the dragonfly is clearly in focus!

Two anatomical features are visible in the photo: the black and white pterostigma located near each wing tip; and the female terminal appendages located at the end of the abdomen.

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Copyright © 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com

Red Admiral butterfly

May 19, 2012

A Red Admiral butterfly (Vanessa atalanta) was spotted during a photowalk through Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA.

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The following photo shows the butterfly feeding on Rubus sp. flowers, possibly a species of Dewberry plant.

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Copyright © 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com

Barred Owl (predator-prey)

May 17, 2012

A Barred Owl (Strix varia) spotted during a photowalk through Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. The owl is eating an unknown smaller bird it just captured. Photo 3 of 4 features the best view of the unknown bird — can anyone identify its species?

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Copyright © 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com

Question Mark butterfly

May 15, 2012

A Question Mark butterfly (Polygonia interrogationis) spotted during a photowalk through Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. One of two “punctuation mark” butterflies, the Question Mark is so named because of the question mark that appears on the underside of its wings; Comma butterflies (Polygonia c-album) feature a comma shape on the underside of their wings. See also “Comma butterfly,” one of my Posterous photoblog posts.

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Copyright © 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com

Great Blue Heron ("head shot")

May 13, 2012

A Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) spotted during a photowalk through Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual was unusually close to the boardwalk that goes through the wetlands, affording a great opportunity for a close-up “head shot.”

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Copyright © 2012 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved. www.wsanford.com


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