Copper Top

Copperhead, Agkistrodon contortrix. This is another of those elliptical pupil guys - venomous.
Posted by Picasa


Eye Spy

The snake in the top photo is a black racer (Coluber constrictor), non-venomous. The lower photo is of a cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorus), venomous. Click on the photos to enlarge and take a good look at the eyes. The racer has a round pupil and the cottonmouth has an eliptical pupil. In my area of NC that is a sure way of telling a non-venomous snake from a venomous one. The only venomous snake in NC that has a round pupil is the eastern coral snake (Micrurus fulvius) and we are well north of its range here in the home swamp.
Posted by Picasa

Party Time

Butterflies are busy puddling for minerals and salts, necessary nutrients that were unavailable to them as caterpillars. Pictured above are two of the most common butterflies in the work swamp: Zebra Swallowtails (Eurytides marcellus) and Palamedes Swallowtails (Papilio palamedes).

Another of our common butterflies, the Atlantic or Holly Azure (Celastrina idella) was out in force Friday, puddling by the hundreds in certain spots. [Blogger ate the picture so you will just have to take my word for it. I'll try to post it later.]
Posted by Picasa



Generally I am a believer that we humans should not interfere with the natural processes around us - for example, I don't believe we should "save" every animal that's in distress (unless that "distress" is a result of our actions). Some people find this hard to take and think it is cruel. I respectfully disagree. Normally I let nature take its course because I know that nothing is wasted in nature. Today, however, I interfered with the dance of life and death on the pond. The common baskettail pictured above was struggling on the water's surface. It had fallen in and become trapped by the surface tension of the water. While I know that it would have made a tasty treat for a hungry fish or a daring bird, I just couldn't stand to see it struggling. I plucked it out of the water and let it rest on my hand as it shook its wings free of water and warmed up. Hope that hungry fish isn't too hungry...
Posted by Picasa


Take a Peek

Here you go, your opportunity to look inside a bald hornet's nest without getting stung. The tennis ball-sized nest was in a bush growing on a stump out on the millpond. I stuck the camera under the opening and pushed the button. It was probably a good thing that the queen hornet wasn't home.

I don't know if the queen will stay with this nest but I plan on checking it in a week or so to see if she has added to her castle. Of course, if she has, and if her first offspring have matured, I doubt I will be getting anymore interior shots :)
Posted by Picasa


Chilly Spring

Netted chain fern is starting to unfurl. Me, I'm still curled by the fire -- it's chilly here.
Posted by Picasa


Oh Swampy, Where Are You?

The swamp has not gobbled me up, nor have I been abducted by aliens. I have just been unbelievably busy the past month. Hopefully things will ease up some and I will have an opportunity to get out and snap some swamp pictures for you. But for now I will just post this picture of a tidy little scat I found out in the swamp yesterday and pose the following question: Whose scat is that?

I'll be back to offer up the answer later.

(To my SIL - Here's something to replace the spider!)
Posted by Picasa