Monday, April 30, 2012

Morning Look at Elk

Happened upon a group of Elk (Cervus elaphus) using a cattle pasture west of Lolo, MT along Highway 12. It is always great seeing these large animals...powerful and mythic. Check out the video:

Monday, April 16, 2012

Birding at Lee Metcalf

A cool, wet morning can be the basis for success when on a birding field trip. Yup, those spring conditions typically concentrate birds in places where there is food...if you know where that may be. Since I was interested in finding newly arrived swallow species that are aerial insectivores, the wetland abundant, ergo midge laden, Lee Metcalf NWR near Stevensville became the destination yesterday. I wasn't disappointed. I observed Cliff (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota), Barn (Hirundo rustica), Violet-green (Tachycineta thalassina) swallow mixed in with a large group of Tree (Tachycineta bicolor).  Found 39 species in little over an hour of effort...great fun and energizing. Here's a short video with some observed highlights:

Monday, April 2, 2012

Butterflies with Eyespots

A recent shot of common buckeye (Junonia coenia) from Florida really illustrated the stunning beauty of eyespots on these animals. The spots also remind me of planets rendered in 'old' illustrations of the solar system...somewhat ethereal. Below are three other species with eyespots both above and under the wing, what do you see? According to Wikipedia, eyespot function on butterflies is not thoroughly understood.
Carolina Satyr (Hermeuptychia sosybius)
Common Alpine (Erebia epipsodea)

Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)
Small Wood-Nymph (Cercyonis oetus)