Sunday, October 20, 2013

Wake up

I found this spider tucked away in the corner of my yard. He's no bigger than half the size of my pinky finger nail. Looking at him, I thought part of the coloring on him was metallic but the close-up of the camera revealed it to be a sharp yellow.

What delights nature holds. Look at these lovely colors of soft green with whites, yellow and black. How magnificent nature is in her creating.

Nature and life hold so hold many wonderful moments if we only open our eyes. Wake up people. Wake up and open your eyes to the beauty of the world around you. It is disappearing at an phenomenal rate.

What is truly important? The Earth and all of its inhabitants who are intertwined in a myriad of webs or our insatiable desire of consumption.

Wake up.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

An early morning spider silhouette

An orb spider silhouetted against the early morning sky with her quarry. You can see the curves of the web where the insects were caught.

While the spider begins her day, flying above, high in the sky, is the contrail of a jet that's carrying passengers somewhere north.

Friday, October 4, 2013

One magic day

A week ago, while in New York, I was caught by surprise to see Monarch Butterflies flying over Fire Island, a barrier island of Long Island, on the long journey south to their wintering grounds in Mexico. It is one of the great migrations and I was delighted to witness it.

I had not seen a one in my area this past spring on their journey north, despite planting Milkweed, their host plant. So it was extra-special for me as I know their numbers are in serious decline due to pesticides, habitat loss and the loss of Milkweed. I'd been hoping and wishing they would visit my gardens as I put care into making sure it's a welcoming environment for them.

This afternoon, I spotted a butterfly in my garden, which I thought was a Monarch, gathering nectar from the Cosmos flowers I had planted in spring. I was thrilled to think that the Monarchs, after seeing them in New York a week ago, had finally made it south to North Carolina on their continuing journey. Nearly tripping over myself to get my camera and then running down the stairs of the deck into my yard, I snapped the above image.

After studying it, I determined it was a Viceroy Butterfly who are often mistaken for Monarchs. Although similar, Viceroys are smaller and can be distinguished by the black line on the lower portion of their wings. Though not a Monarch, I was happy nevertheless to see this butterfly enjoying the gardens.

But, nature is magic as are butterflies.

About three hours later, I spotted another butterfly flying around the same flowers while stopping here and there to partake of nectar. After about nine minutes, the butterfly flew off in a determined southward direction. I felt certain this time.

The visitor was indeed a Monarch. It had stopped to refuel itself on its long journey to Mexico. I was delighted to the core and glad I had planted flower seeds during the chill of early spring if only to help this one Monarch make it home.

Throughout the season, I've seen other species of butterflies but never a Viceroy, a look-alike of the Monarch, nor a true Monarch. Yet, in one magic day, both appeared. One to fool and the other to affirm.

Journey North is a Citizen Science project where you can report Monarch Butterfly sightings and other species to help scientist track migrations.

An excellent guide for help in identifying Monarch Butterflies.