Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for September 16th, 2013

Some updates, several of which are downers

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1)  In the first year of this blog I showed a photograph of a monarch butterfly on a rain-lily. In William Leach’s book Butterfly People I recently learned that it was American entomologist Samuel Scudder who gave the monarch its enduring vernacular name. In doing that, he rejected the alternate names “storm butterfly” and “milkweed butterfly.” Scudder was also responsible for the common name of the viceroy butterfly, which mimics the monarch and so is presumed to gain protection from predators that avoid the monarch because of its noxious taste (thank you, milkweed chemicals).

2)  Thanks to Dan Hardy of the Austin Butterfly Forum for telling me that the little butterfly you saw here a few days ago is most likely an orange skipperling, Copaeodes aurantiacus. According to Stephen G. Williams, as mentioned by John Tveten, that is the most common skipperling in Austin.

3)  In February of this year I showed a picture of an early-flowering huisache tree and speculated that the land it was on might not last long. That land is now a construction site and the huisache is gone.

4)  As I predicted only a couple of months ago, the last remaining wild sunflowers at the construction site of a hotel in my neighborhood were recently pulled out. I photographed sunflowers there in 2011, 2012, and 2013, but now that sunny series has ended.

5)  In a post entitled “The vanishing prairie” in May of this year I showed a photograph of many flowering plants on the west side of Interstate 35 in far north Austin. I noted that “the southern half of a large field there had become a construction site, but the northern half of the field lay still untouched and dense with wildflowers, most likely for the last time.” The construction has grown and now covers more of the site, though a portion of the land is hanging on—who knows for how much longer. I don’t like having a post without a picture, and the surviving bit of prairie is looking barren now at the end of the summer—which is normal, but not photogenic—so here’s another photograph from my visit on April 28. The white flowers are old plainsman, Hymenopappus scabiosaeus; the yellow are greenthreads, Thelesperma filifolium; the bits of purple at the right are prairie verbena, Glandularia bipinnatifida.

Greenthread and Old Plainsman Colonies 1564

Click for greater clarity.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 16, 2013 at 6:14 AM

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