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Old Aug 24, 2012, 9:37 PM   #1
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Default August is Buggy

A fine warm wet late summer is perfect for insects here in the East Tennessee hills. Also a perfect time as we continue monitoring and listing insect species in our parks. Here are a few samples from some recent "bug walks" in the area.

Our native Sulphur butterflies really thrive in the late summer. Here are some shots of a Clouded Sulphur enjoying Butterflyweed nectar, and a Sleepy Orange Sulphur just "hanging out" in the dewy grass.
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Old Aug 24, 2012, 9:40 PM   #2
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Spotted a new county record butterfly at nearby Bays Mountain Park. This Appalachian Brown was soaking up the sunshine on a footbridge near the park lake. This brings our county butterfly list up to 85 species!
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Old Aug 24, 2012, 9:44 PM   #3
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Saw a little boy on a recent park hike wearing a t-shirt that said "real men wear pink." Not so sure about that, but it does seem that real butterflies eat pink! Have seen the greatest numbers and diversity of butterfly species lately on two pink species of flowers - thistle and swamp milkweed.

Here are a Great Spangled Fritillary and some Skippers on a very pink Swamp Milkweed.
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Old Aug 24, 2012, 9:46 PM   #4
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And a Silvery Checkerspot, also "in the pink" of the s. milkweed.
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Old Aug 24, 2012, 9:50 PM   #5
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Thistle's bright pink blooms are also full of nectar, and full of butterflies. Here are several views of a visitor to our region - the Gulf Fritillary - enjoying Thistle nectar. Gulf Fritillaries are not residents here, but often pass through during the late summer...
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Old Aug 24, 2012, 9:54 PM   #6
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Thistles are also full of Tiger Swallowtails these days. Notice that the females are sometimes dark, mimicking the (bad tasting) Pipevine Swallowtails. But I've never seen a dark male...
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Old Aug 24, 2012, 9:56 PM   #7
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Not every butterfly is drawn to nectar. Here's a rather tattered Question Mark licking some fermented Oak sap!
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Old Aug 24, 2012, 9:58 PM   #8
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And now for a few Dragonflies...
Slaty Skimmers hang around the small ponds nearly all summer long. By now, they are getting a bit tattered around the wings. But they are still busy feasting on tiny insects, and busy with the "business" of creating future generations...
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Old Aug 24, 2012, 10:01 PM   #9
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Speaking of futures, we spotted one Slaty Skimmer whose future was shortened a bit. This Dragon Hunter was living up to its name - enjoying a winged "snack" of Slaty Skimmer!
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Old Aug 24, 2012, 10:05 PM   #10
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Just a few more dragons... Here are three small, common and bright little odonates: A Blue Dasher who does indeed dash through the pond edges after tasty little insects, a Pondhawk, who goes "hawking" for small bugs around the water's edge, and a Meadowhawk, who prefers the damp meadows for his hunting grounds...
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