Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Morning In The Meadow

I watched a complex of meadows at dawn on Tuesday morning and filmed several respectable whitetail bucks, but sunrise found me wanting a change of pace, so I went to a meadow that is maintained solely for wildlife. It has a variety of succulent grasses growing, most notably ladino clover. I was tired of carrying my usual extensive array of cameras and lenses, so I selected a relatively light compromise-the 100-400mm Canon zoom with the Gitzo 1348 tripod. For good measure I took along a 25mm extension tube if the opportunity arose for some close-up photography.

The local rabbit population has been depressed for years, but now they have recovered for the time being and I find them almost everywhere I go. I had no sooner than entered the meadow, than I encountered this one busily munching away, and he continued to do so for ten minutes or more.

Rabbit Numbers Are Rebounding

For some reason there are few butterflies in the meadow this year, although there are plenty of the thistles, which ordinarily attract them in droves. I did encounter a small specimen, which I am reasonably certain is a variety of Skipper. My butterfly guide is not handy, so I cannot give a positive identification, but I think it may be Silver-Spotted Skipper (If anyone knows differently, please feel free to correct me).

Silver-Spotted Skipper?

When one has an enjoyable experience, it is tempting to try and repeat it, so that evening found me in the same spot. This time I encountered a Spangled Fritillary. Its' wings are somewhat damaged, making it a less than perfect specimen, but I couldn't resist taking several photographs.

Spangled Fritillary on Thistle

While thistles are considered by many to be a noxious weed, and are a problem in crop and pasture fields, they are an important plant to insects, and a wide variety of bees and butterflies may often be found feeding on them.


10 comments:

Sara G said...

Great post and photo's Willard! I enjoy them so much!!
Take care

Leedra said...

It is tempting to plant thistle, but I know better. I just let my neighbor and then walk over and photograph the butterflies on his thistle. First butterfly I photographed after going digital was at thistle in his yard. He lets areas grow up, and my husband won't. My neighbor thinks it bothers us, but I love it, for the protection for the birds and butterflies.

Leedra said...

Oops, forgot about the rabbit. We don't have rabbits at home, not sure why. But our place at Rockwood has rabbits. Tuesday morning I stood at the den window and watched them playing with each other. The 'youngin' kept jumping about a foot in the air trying to get the other one to play. Naturally I went to Rockwood without my camera. Think it was the first time ever.

Larry D said...

Great photos and post, makes me want to go out and get a zoom and extension, rabbits numbers seem to be up here as well, Ive seen many more this year.

HANNIBAL said...

Fantastic colors! I need that extension tube, but Santa hasn't brought me one yet...

Beautiful Creation said...

Wonderful photos. I love rabbits. We don't have many butterflies either this year. And I do have plants that should attract them.

Gretchen said...

Would love to spend a day just sharing photo tips in the wilds with you! You have so much talent!

Sam said...

Wow! what a lovely and cute images!
I love that butterfly image a lot. That's soooo pretty.

sam

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Bhavesh Chhatbar said...

Afterall, only diversity can create an actual forest. I mean all plants needs to be together in their natural formation.

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Louise said...

Beautiful captures. I have always loved thistles. However, they were illegal where I grew up and lived until 7 years ago. I spent many a hot summer day getting a scorching sunburn ridding our fields of them. I hated it because they were so pretty.