Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Swallowtails














The moonlight kept me awake all night and today I did not feel like working (although it's hard to define work when one is self-employed and simultaneously spiraling in a handful of directions). Instead, I let the spirit lead me around the land to show me things, intensely beautiful things.

There is an abundance of Menodora heterophylla blooming. Commonly known as Rebud (but not to be confused with the local tree of the same name), it is a small yellow flower that clings to the ground and gets its name from the color of its closed buds, which are best seen in the early morning. It's actually in the Olive family.

Wind Flowers, which announce our spring, have begun to set seed. Everything about Anemone hetrophylla says air: soft petals the colors of the sky, slender stems with feathery involucral bracts, fuzzy seeds--even its name.
















The real gems of the day were the butterflies which seemingly posed for my camera. First, in the creek near our Sky Chairs, a blue Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor) was sunning itself on a Texas Persimmon (Diospyros texana). It was so perfect it had to be newly out of the chrysalis, not yet tattered by birds. Simply breathtaking.















I also found its caterpillars in the shortgrass prairie munching away on its host, Aristolochia, Pipevine. The flower is interesting--shaped as a long, bending pipe--but hard to find as it blends in with the grasses. Usually it is easier to get down on one's belly and look for the distinctive rust-black caterpillars with red spines to locate the plants, which are quickly consumed.




















Next, a Tiger Swallowtail (Pterourus glaucus) appeared, nectaring on a Prairie Verbena (Verbena bipinnatifida), followed by what I thought at first was a Red Admiral, but on closer inspection appeared to be a Bordered Patch (Chlosyne lacinia), which I'd never seen before.

I wonder what winged beauties will visit tomorrow?
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