I love birding. Its my passion and when times are busy (like this fall is-busier than ever) birding is the one thing I make sure I always have time to get out and do. But over the summer, some of those slow birding days found me noticing and marvelling at the other flying creatures that surrounded me- and during these sort of days there were no lack of them. Butterflies and dragonflies had come into my interest.
I’ve birded with young birders who not only know the birds, but also the insects and just about everything. Besides birds, I know my mammals and herps very well (and have pretty impressive life lists of both) but had never attempted to get to know dragonflies and butterflies. With the help of some great field guides, Some very helpful friends, and facebook groups, I have started to get to know our other flying friends.
I am an incredible rookie, no-where near an expert (dragonflies pose much more of a problem than butterflies) but that excites me- being able to go out, even in the yard, and find weird species I’ve never even heard of! The past few weeks have resulted in some great butterfly finds, including Giant Swallowtail and Red-banded Hairstreak and although I’m still struggling with even the most common dragonflies, I’ve built up a dragonfly life list of a whopping 11 species.
Here are some pictures and descriptions of some common local species.
Great Blue Skimmer at Sherwood Island SP.
Blue Dasher at Greenwich Point.
A young male Blue Dasher in my yard.
A Halloween Pennant at Cape May Point State Park
Eastern Pondhawk at Brigantine NWR.
A Spicebush Swallowtail at Heislerville WMA.
Eastern Comma in my yard.
A bad shot of a nice Zabulon Skipper at Jamaica Bay NWR.
Common Buckeye at Greenwich Point.
A Sachem in my grandparents yard, Niantic, CT.
Now that the cold fronts have arrived and the insects are retreating, birds can take all of my attention again. :)