Wild Things

April 12th, 2010
Eastern Tailed Blue

Eastern Tailed Blue "puddling" in the potager

It was a gorgeous weekend to be outdoors. Some much-needed garden work was done, but the calls of nature kept distracting me. No, no, no, not that. Butterflies. Dragonflies. Birds. Wildflowers. That kind of nature.

Tiny Eastern Tailed Blue butterflies flitted around, basking on the moist earth in the kitchen garden. I don’t often get to see them with their wings unfolded. There were Tiger Swallowtails, a Falcate Orangetip, many duskywings (Juvenal’s?) and a largish orange butterfly high on the trunks of pine trees at the edge of the woods. I took this to be the spring “orange form” of Question Mark, but couldn’t get close enough for a photo or for ID. By the way, I love the Latin name for the Question Mark – Polygonia interrogationis. Interrogationis, get it? That has to be one of the most obvious species names in existence.

I saw the first dragonfly of the year on Saturday and several more on Sunday. All on the wing. Didn’t get a good look at any of them, but there were at least two different species. One was slim and one was chunky.

The previous weekend when I looked for spring beauties (Claytonia sp.) I didn’t find them, but Saturday they were blooming down by the stream. Further into the woods, the wild azaleas have begun to bloom. Usually I miss the day when the flowers are just starting to open and instead catch them after they’ve passed their prime. Not this year.

Native Azalea (Rhododendron periclymenoides)

Native Azalea (Rhododendron periclymenoides)

Native Azalea (Rhododendron periclymenoides)

Native Azalea (Rhododendron periclymenoides)

Native Azalea (Rhododendron periclymenoides)

Native Azalea (Rhododendron periclymenoides)

They seem especially floriferous this year, but I still had to hunt for them. Partly this is because the flowers are over my head and partly because the woods are starting to get shadowy. The trees leafed out early in the hot weather last week. I had read that this species of azalea is fragrant, but this year, for the first time, I noticed the scent. Maybe because there are more flowers than before or maybe because I found them earlier, but I pulled a branch down in front of my face to be sure and, yes, they do have a lovely light sweet fragrance.

The woods held other suprises.

Chewed Tree

How much wood would a woodchuck chuck...?

What sort of critter does this to trees? The only one that comes to mind is beaver, but I don’t think we have the correct habitat here. There are several areas on this same tree chewed like that. I didn’t notice it on any other trees.

But look here. This is my big news for the weekend.

Wild Orchid

Flower bud on wild orchid?

I think the wild orchid I’ve been watching for a couple of years is going to bloom this year. Doesn’t that look like a flower bud to you? I tried my pile-of-sticks trick on it and hope that will keep the critters away. Stay tuned, but right now, I’m excited and happy about this.

5 Responses to “Wild Things”

  1. Gail says:

    I have no idea who/what was chomping on your tree! Exciting news about the orchid…I was just admiring the native azaleas you can grow..Oh that acid soil! gail

    • entangled says:

      Oh boy, do we ever have acid soil! Most of the lower layer of the woods is wild blueberries of various species.

  2. wendy says:

    great finds! THat azalea is really pretty. Great butterfly too!

    • entangled says:

      I just hope the azaleas are still there. Just chased 3 deer out of the woods in the backyard. Grrrr.

  3. […] you were here a week ago, you would have seen me all excited to find a flower bud on the wild orchid I’ve been […]

RSS feed for comments on this post.