Saturday, November 19, 2005

Saturday backyard wildlife

Phaon crescent butterfly, Phyciodes phaon. My rosemary plant, a big out-of-control shrub which I never water or pay attention to which has taken over 8 feet of flower bed on the south side of the house under a regimen of total neglect, is still flowering after 2 freezes and it seems to be the place to be in the lepidoptera community. All the butterflies I took pictures of earlier in the week were here, and today this crescent showed up, along with a large orange sulfur who does not photograph well and a bunch of brown skippers.
(Click to enlarge)

And here is what we call a yellow jacket, Polistes exclamans. The exclamans part is correct. Usually if one stings you, several others do too, because you have disturbed their nest. Out by themselves like this, they will normally never bother you. The exception is summer day picnics, where sometimes they get territorial about your Coca Cola and will try to take it over. In that case I recommend abandoning the Coke, which is not that good for you anyway.

A bird in the bush. A cardinal, of course. They are one of the more common species around here, but I have found them surprisingly hard to photograph. Most of the year they skulk in the underbrush.

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