Posts Tagged ‘feed’

A Spreadwing Skipper

A Horace’s duskywing skipper (Erynnis horatius) took time to feed on a blazing star.

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The adults visit flowers and mud puddles.

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The ones in southern Illinois emerge from early April to mid October.

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They prefer warm sunny spots in clearings along the edges of woodlands, and roadsides.

 

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Silver-spotted Skipper

A high percentage of skippers are similar and difficult to identify.

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Not the silver-spotted skipper (Epargyreus clarus clarus), with the distinctive white spot on the underside of its hindwing.

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They seldom land and show their upperside.

Their caterpillars feed on false indigo, wisteria, wild senna, and honey locust. The adults fly from April to mid-October.

Comma Butterfly

A comma butterfly landed in front of me as I headed toward the backyard.

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The ragged female stopped to rest on her mission to find host plants — hops, nettles and elm trees — to lay her eggs on.

Comma butterflies (Polygonia comma) overwinter as adults and begin flying as spring warms. The feed at flowers, tree sap, animal droppings, carrion and decaying fruit.

I used to put overripe fruit on the cistern to attract the sap-flow butterflies — which include the tawny emperor, red-spotted purple, viceroy,  hackberry butterfly, question mark, painted lady and red admiral.

Toad Corner

 A toad has set up residence near the side door of our house. I occasionally jump when it jumps. Obviously, it does blend in quite well.

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   American toads usually spend the day in piles of leaves, under rocks and logs, or in loose soil.

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   I came around the corner of the house this morning — three hops, and it disappeared in the leaves.

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 Mating took place almost 2 months ago. So, it might be checking out the neighborhood.

They’re active at dusk, and feed at night on insects and earthworms.

Cicada Killer

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I knew cicada killers nested in my garden, and also knew they paralyzed cicadas to feed their young.

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That was basically all I knew about cicadas until camping at my rural property. I sat in camp that evening, facing west.

A cicada killer flew from a tree. Its flight angled downward because of the weight of the cicada it was carrying.

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It carried/dragged the cicada a considerable distance to the nearest tree that was inline with the location of its nest.

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It climbed the tree and flew out toward its nest. I lost sight of it this time because of the thick vegetation.

Obviously, watching this made much more of an impression on me than just reading about it in a book would have.

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Finally … a Towhee

 It’s amazing how a rufous-sided towhee can loudly sing its song or repeat its call note and not be located.

It took several days to locate the towhee that called from various places in our yard.  They have a knack for concealment, even when in the open.

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I accidentially ended up in the right place at the right time to locate the male while he repeated his  “Drink your teeeeee” (wavering the “tea.”)

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His call note was a sharp whistled “wheep.”

Rufous-sided towhee’s breeding range covers over half the U.S. and Canada. Southern Illinois is in its winter range.  The female is dark brown where the male is black. They scratch for nuts, seeds and fruits to feed on, plus some insects.