Gossamer Tapestry

Reflections on conservation, butterflies, and ecology in the nation's heartland

Sunday, May 04, 2008

The First Sunday in May

First shooting star bloom of the year

Yesterday was absolutely miserable from a weather standpoint. It was windy, drizzly, and in the high 40s. I spent much of the day outside at the Fen, and, frankly, would have been happier indoors making cheese. I vowed that if today's weather was a repeat, I'd do just that. Fortunately, today was a beautiful spring day- sunny and in the high 60s. I went for a walk, camera in hand, out at the Fen. It was a Sunday of firsts.

Wood Betoney

We're seeing the first blooms of a lot of plants this weekend. I saw my first shooting star, first blue-eyed grass, and first wood betoney. I had already seen bird-foot violets, however this weekend was the peak of their bloom.

Bird-foot Violet

Slowly, the insects are returning, as well. On Friday I saw my first monarch. This is extremely early and it was a very worn specimen. I wonder if this might not be one of the very rare individuals that make it all the way back to Illinois from Mexico (most of them lay eggs and die in Texas and it's the progeny that make it back here).

Eastern Forktail - Female

I saw my first damselflies of the year today. Eastern forktails (Ishnura verticalis) are usually the first species of spring. This year was no exception.

Eastern Forktail - Male

I'd already seen (and photographed) a twelve-spotted tiger beetle this year, but wasn't entirely happy with the result. I did much better today.

Twelve-spotted Tiger Beetle (Cicindela duodecimguttata)

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At 18:03, Blogger André Lemay said...

Wow, this is my kind of pictures. They are all great. Hopefully one day I willbe just as good as you are, since i'm just starting. Please visit me and let me know what you think. thanks

At 07:54, Blogger Texas Travelers said...

Great photos and story. It's nice to be out on a spring day. Thanks for the nice comment on my Monarch blog. It was interesting and I learned something new.

Great Tiger Beetle shot. They don't alway cooperate for their portrait sitting. Tigers are my favorite beetle. It's warm enough here, so I don't know why I haven't seen any yet.

Have a great week,

At 08:05, Blogger Texas Travelers said...

I don't have any books on Tiger Beetles. I see you are reading Pearson's book. I was looking at Amazon.com and notice they have 2 books by him. Which do you recommend or both?
my e-mail is


At 15:31, Anonymous mark h said...

I sure wish you were here in my yard with your eyes and knowledge. I would learn more in 15 minutes then I've probably ever known, and that would be "stuff" that would probably change how I conduct yard planning. Thanks, Doug, as always.

GREAT pictures.

At 16:05, Blogger cedrorum said...

Great pictures and what a great Sunday that looks like it was. Glad to hear you're starting to see the signs of Spring your way. Enough with the cold weather up there already.

At 22:07, Blogger Doug Taron said...

André- Thanks. Though I'm really just fooling around with a point and shoot.

Troy- Thanks. And yes, tiger beetles can be uncooperative subjects. I do a lot of cropping. What did we do befofe digital? I've emailed you with a more detailed response to your book question.

Mark- Thanks. I can make it look easy on my blog, because I get to choose what to talk about. The stuff that I'm clueless on, you never hear about.

Cedrorum- Spring does finally seem to be here. And not a moment too soon. It's hard to find blogging topics if Im not travelling and there aren't bugs about.

At 23:20, Blogger Ur-spo said...

i don't think I have ever heard you not happy to be at the Fen.
that was a surprise - or was it merely the longing for cheese?

At 04:40, Blogger Dave Coulter said...

Tiger beetles. Right. They're on my "to be found" list this summer!

At 06:37, Blogger Doug Taron said...

Spo- I just wasn't in the mood to be cold and wet on Saturday.

Dave- Well, they're pretty easy to find if you know where to look.

At 10:22, Blogger robin andrea said...

It's been a lousy, wet, cold spring here in the northwest. We haven't seen any dragonflies yet. Love seeing what you see, especially that beetle. What a beauty.

At 22:23, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How long did you have to chase that damsel? I have the hardest time shooting those suckers and they are my favorite!

Great pics as always!

At 21:02, Blogger Chris said...

Wonderful pictures...I want to go for a hike now!


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