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Old Oct 10, 2012, 8:29 PM   #1
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Default Last Chance before the Frost

Have been "out on the trail" a lot lately, so unable to stop by here. Have far too many photos waiting for PP and then posting, but will try to squeeze in a few here before heading out again...

We've already had a few light frosts at the highest elevations, but none in the low country yet. Forecast for tonight is widespread light frost across much of Northeast Tennessee. So it's one "last chance" to see and enjoy some of the more delicate small lives.

Was helping with an event at nearby Davy Crockett Birthplace State Park recently, and had some spare moments to check out their meadows. The park staff have been working hard to re-establish native species to make their open spaces better habitats. And it is working!

For example, here's a Common Buckeye enjoying the abundant and varied native Goldenrods.
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Old Oct 10, 2012, 8:31 PM   #2
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Goldenrods were the chief attraction for many insects. Here are some common paper wasps working the goldenrod pollen.
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Old Oct 10, 2012, 8:34 PM   #3
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Here are several views of the Painted Ladies enjoying the nectar in the bountiful goldenrod fields.
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Old Oct 10, 2012, 8:35 PM   #4
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And one quick shot of a very shy Red Banded Hairstreak, also a fan of goldenrod nectar.
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Old Oct 10, 2012, 8:37 PM   #5
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Our native Asters are also at a peak of bloom. Asters are somewhat tolerant of light frosts, but they have to "hurry" to bloom and set seed before the hard freezes.
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Old Oct 10, 2012, 8:39 PM   #6
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Like the goldenrods, our native asters are full of nectar and pollen, to attract the late-season pollinators. Here's a Gulf Fritillary, feasting on Aster nectar.
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Old Oct 10, 2012, 8:42 PM   #7
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The smaller white Asters are also a favorite with the autumnal pollinators. These Variegated Fritillaries were seeking out the occasional patches of asters in the midst of the far more abundant Goldenrods.
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Old Oct 10, 2012, 8:45 PM   #8
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Another butterfly was also actively seeking out the white asters at Crockett Park's meadows. This is a new county record for Greene County - the Checkered White. Used to be a much more common butterfly, but the non-native European White butterflies seem to be outcompeting the native Checkered Whites. It was nice to see several of these little 'flies out in the flowering meadows!
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Old Oct 10, 2012, 8:47 PM   #9
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There are two species of checkered Skippers in our region. They look identical, and it takes microscopic analysis to tell them apart. Apparently they don't need microscopes to tell each other apart, but we humans do! So I can't tell you which species this is...
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Old Oct 10, 2012, 8:49 PM   #10
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Skippers in general are a difficult group (for me) to identify. Here's another common skipper species, and another "aster-lover!" (taken with my newest lens - an old, battered but sturdy FA 50 macro - seems to be very sharp and nice colors too...)
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