6.09.2005

Snippets From My Day

On a sandy road along a ditch we happened upon an interesting set of tracks. No pad imprints, just claw-tips.



They gave evidence that some creature had meandered up and down the road, seemingly at a leisurely pace.

We weren't surprised when we happened upon the track-maker...




...a snapping turtle, Chelydra serpentina.


Along the same road we saw hundreds of zebra swallowtail butterflies (Eurytides marcellus).



The larvae of the zebra swallowtail feed on the leaves of the pawpaw (Asimina triloba).



Many other animals, including some people, enjoy the fruits of the pawpaw. Perhaps when these ripen, we'll come back, pick 'em up, and put 'em in our basket...

Somewhere along the way today I picked up an univited guest,



a female American Dog Tick (Dermacentor variabilis). Luckily I spotted her before she had time to attach.

8 comments:

Mr. Bloggerific Himself said...

Maybe you've mentioned this before and I'm forgetting, but do you use Bug Off or anything? I would imagine that would get old quickly being "out and about" everyday, so I'm thinking not. But could you not? What about that sheet of Bounce in the back pocket trick?

swamp4me said...

I take all manner of precautions to avoid ticks while I am out and my clothes are treated with some very serious repellant.

Ticks, mosquitoes, biting flies, etc. are just part of the job when you work outside in a swamp :) My goal in posting pictures of these critters is to educate folks who don't come into daily contact with ticks and such and may not even know what they look like.

No Bounce in the back pocket for me, thank you. Sweet scents tend you make one even more attractive to mosquitoes and yellow jackets. That's one reason I never wear perfume or use scented lotion while I'm out.

Mr. Bloggerific Himself said...

I know that I would be coating myself, and do when I just mow the yard. But I chalked that up to being wimpy not Nature Wise.

Yeah me!

(Must have been one of those Internet hoaxes going around about the Bounce.)

Wayne said...

I love hiking around the woods around here, from the floodplains to the pine barrens at higher altitudes.

Starting about April I begin buying in bulk anything that has the highest % "deet" (diethyl toluamide) I can find. Until well into Sep I go outside, that stuff goes on. I'm as comfortable as anyone who lives in an area that gets sprayed for mosquitos, and I see a lot more than they do since anything that might have been seen by them is generally dead. We live in the piedmont but still have plenty of ticks.

Just another rule of thumb - if you're trekking in the woods, watch every step you take. Not only are there interesting things in your path, but once in a while there are interesting things like rattlesnakes. Lovely to see, not so lovely to step on.

thingfish23 said...

My guess is that the butterflies were "mud-puddling". They can't take water from from a dish or a flower, but they can saok it up from mud. Plus, mud has all sorts of groovy minerals and stuff that they need and can't just get from flower nectar. For this same reason, I have had beautiful butterflies latch on to my sweaty arm and get to drinkin'.

In my experience, the best example of this was a whole gaggle of little blue butterflies that arrived to eagerly suck on some sweat-laden hiking socks that I had put out in the sun to dry while on a camping trip.

My feet are sweet.

swamp4me said...

thingfish, there masses and masses of zebra swallowtails and palamedes puddling -- some of them were visiting a spot where a bear had just, uh, peed.

Butterflies have unusual tastes, I have seen them on poop, pee, vomit, and the occasional carcass. Ahhh, the wonders of nature :)

Watchmania said...

What's that little tufty bit the turtle has on his head? He must be a Punk Turtle.

swamp4me said...

More like Farmer Turtle...that little tuft of tan is some type of grass seed. He had several more down along his back.