Sunday, May 22, 2011

May 22, 2011

We went biking along the Potomac today. Wingstem Verbesina alternifola and Nettles Urtica sp. are in abundance there, along with Paw-paw trees. We saw several Eastern Commas, Spicebush Swallowtails, Zebra Swallowtails, Red Admirals, and a couple of Sulphurs. I looked on the Wingstem for caterpillars or nests of the Silvery Checkerspot Chlosyne nycteis, but no luck.

JRC

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Garden Plan

In previous years, I would plan the garden on paper, lose the paper, find the paper, and then end up (because of meager art skills) with a plan that only somewhat approximated the real thing.

This year, the cluestick fell on my head: I can use Photoshop to label a photograph!

The new and improved garden plan...


JRC

May 7 - 10, 2011: Swallowtails and Ladies

This week, the Black Swallowtails started emerging. There are 17 chrysalises that overwintered in the cage. A male emerged on 5/7 and a female on 5/9. Both were small and had more orange than usual on the underside.

Black Swallowtail Papilio polyxenes

We also found six Cabbage White caterpillars on Yellow Rocket.

Cabbage White Pieris rapae on Yellow Rocket Barbarea vulgaris

And finally, we found 13 American Lady eggs on the Pussytoes in the garden.

American Lady Vanessa virginiensis egg on Pussytoes Antennaria plantaginifolia

The plan had been to leave them on the plant, since the caterpillars make nests that make them harder to raise in cages. However, by the next day, the eggs had been found by ants.


There are two eggs in the picture. The ant was working on the one on the right for at least half an hour, encircling it and working on it with his mouth. Presumably, he was aiming to detach it from the leaf and take it back to the nest.

In any event, we did not want the eggs to go for ant food, so we brought them inside on A. plant. sections that went into pots. The hope is that the plants will root and provide food for the caterpillars.