Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘skipper’

Over the years I have gradually learned which plants tend to attract butterflies and Buttonbushes (Cephalanthus occidentalis) are one of my favorites.  The plant’s spiky spherical flowers are quite distinctive and make a nice compositional element in a photo. I used to mentally associate these flowers with medieval weapons, but nowadays when people see one, they can’t help but think of the well-publicized structure of the Covid-19 virus.

Last week I spotted this Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus) nectaring on a buttonbush flower at Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge. I was hoping that one of the Monarchs that were fluttering by would also stop to sip at one of these photogenic flowers, but the Monarchs seemed to prefer the taste of the swamp milkweed flowers.

Silver-spotted Skipper

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

Skipper butterflies are common and Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta) are common too, but what a lovely combination they made when I spotted them together on Friday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

skipper and susan

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

I can’t identify this flower and I am not certain what kind of skipper butterfly this is, but the two of them sure did combine well in this image that I captured this past weekend at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens. (I’m leaning towards this being a Peck’s Skipper (Polites peckius), but there are so many different kinds of skippers that it’s hard to be sure.)

In many ways this is the kind of image that I aspire to capture. The subject is active, engaged in probing the flower with its extended proboscis, rather than in a static pose. Of equal importance, the image has an artistic feel, a kind of beauty in its composition and colors. There are so many uncontrollable elements in nature that there is no way to guarantee results like this, but it is sure is nice when it happens.

UPDATE: Helpful folks on Facebook and readers of this blog have helped to identify the butterfly as a Zabulon Skipper (Poanes zabulon) and the flower as an Obedient Plant (Physostegia virginiana). Thanks, Drew and Molly.

skipper and flower

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

Read Full Post »

Brightly-colored flowers and butterflies—-what a wonderful combination for a summer’s day. I spotted these beauties this past weekend at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna, Virginia.

The first shot features a little skipper butterfly on a spectacular, orange-red coneflower. The other two shots highlight the beauty of an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) in a patch of the more frequently observed purple coneflowers.

skipper on a coneflower

Eastern Tiger SwallowtailEastern Tiger Swallowtail

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

Read Full Post »

Every spring I seem to have the same problem—I see small brown skipper butterflies and can’t seem to identify them. Wikipedia notes that there are over 3500 species recognized worldwide, so I don’t feel too bad about my poor identification skills. I spotted this particular one during a recent trip to Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna, Virginia as it was feeding on what looks to be some variety of salvia flower—there are a lot of types of salvia flowers too.

As I looked through internet photos of possible matches for my skipper, I considered that it might be a Peck’s Skipper or possibly a Fiery Skipper, but none of them is a perfect match. I’m hoping that it turns out to be a Zabulon Skipper (Poanes zabulon). Why? More than anything else, I think “Zabulon” is a cool name.

skipper

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

Read Full Post »

Out of the more than 3500 different species of skipper butterflies worldwide, according to Wikipedia, there is really only one that I can reliably identify—the Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus). I spotted this beautiful little butterfly this past weekend at Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge. The skipper was so intent on feeding that it let me get pretty close to it. As a result, this image is one of the rare cases when I didn’t feel a need or desire to crop at all. I am not very good at plant identification, but I really like the tiny flowers of the plant in this image.

Silver-spotted Skipper

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

Read Full Post »

Skipper butterflies normally do not get much attention because they are small and are not brightly colored.  When you look closely at members of this large family of butterflies, however, you discover an amazing variety of colors and patterns.

Give some love to the skippers. (Click on any one of the images to see all of them full size in slide show mode, unless you are viewing the post in the WordPress Reader, in which, I believe, the images will be shown individually.)

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

It’s a gray and gloomy day with intermittent rain—I feed the need for some color. This little skipper butterfly was busily at work last week on some very colorful flowers and I was able to catch him in action with his proboscis extended.

I am not sure what kind of skipper this is (there are more than 3500 species of skippers worldwide), but it looks a little like one that a reader identified for me as a Peck’s Skipper (Polites peckius). I must confess, though, that many skippers look very similar to me, so my identification is very tentative.

Capturing the butterfly with my macro lens was not too much of a problem, but I had a real problem in processing these shots because of some super bright highlights coming of the yellow flowers. I ended up darkening the highlights and desaturating the color in order to restore some detail to those flowers. I am not sure if I am happy with the results and might choose to process them differently another time. (The RAW images are still intact.)

skipper2_oct_blogskipper1_oct_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

Can you name the most recognized Skipper butterfly in North America?  According to Wikipedia, it’s the Silver-spotted Skipper butterfly (Epargyreus clarus), like this one that I photographed recently at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, Maryland.

I have been seeing a lot of skippers this month and many of them look so much alike that it is difficult for me to identify them  The Silver-spotted Skipper’s colors may be a little drab, but I am happy that it is easy to identify it, which makes me happy, given that there are over 3500 different species of skippers worldwide, according to a separate article in Wikipedia.

silver_blogsilver3_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

A handsome little skipper feeds on a gorgeous purple flower and the result is simply beautiful.

skipper_purple_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

Read Full Post »

Small skipper butterflies don’t stand out as much as their larger, more colorful brethren, but they have an understated beauty that I find striking. It’s a daunting challenge, however, to identify them.

According to Wikipedia, there are more than 3500 recognized species of skippers worldwide, so I don’t feel too bad that my identification skills are weak in this area. As I looked through images on-line, I came across one identified as a Little Glassywing (Pompeius verna) that looks a bit like the one that I photographed, though my confidence level in this identification is pretty low.

I am confident, however, that I like the image I captured of the little skipper. There is a pretty good amount of detail, the background is blurred, and the leaves on which the butterfly is perched makes for an interesting pose.

UPDATE: A butterfly expert has definitively identified this as a female Sachem (Atalopedes campestris). Thanks to Joe Schelling and Jim Brock for their assistance in identifying this little skipper.

skipper1_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

Read Full Post »

Every now and then I take a photograph and I am not really sure how I achieved the effect in the shot, like this one of a Fiery Skipper butterfly (Hylephila phyleus) on a jagged leaf.

With the exception of a few minor adjustments of the RAW image and a tiny bit of cropping, this looks just like the image I started with. When I first examined the image, I was pretty sure that I had used flash, but the EXIF data indicate that flash was not used. I took the shot handheld at ISO 400, f/6.3, and 1/500 sec. The depth of field was pretty shallow, but I did get the eye pretty much in focus, and I like the way the sharpness falls off so quickly.

I especially like the blurry jagged back edge of the leaf and the sharper near edge. The triangular shape of the wings seems to mirror those jags. Even the butterfly’s pose seems to work well, with the one leg dangling over the edge. If you click on the image, you get a higher resolution view of the photo.

I think that this is a Fiery Skipper, though I confess that I am not very good at identifying these little butterflies. Let me know if you can help in further identifying the butterfly.

skipper_leaf_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

Read Full Post »

Although I enjoy chasing after large, colorful insects, I also will try to get shots of the smaller ones too, like this tiny butterfly that I think is a Least Skipper (Ancyloxypha numitor). Somehow this little butterfly struck me as having an attitude—maybe it’s because it looks like he is wearing a pair of Ray-Ban aviator sunglasses, like an insect Tom Cruise.

tiny_orange_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

Read Full Post »

Can you name the most recognized Skipper in North America?  According to Wikipedia, it’s the Silver-spotted Skipper butterfly (Epargyreus clarus), shown here clinging to a Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) in a shot I took recently at my local marshland park.

I love the spiky look of the Buttonbush and it seems to attract a lot of butterflies. The skipper’s colors may be a little drab, but I am happy that it is easy to identify, given that there are over 3500 different species of skippers, according to a different article in Wikipedia.

spotted_skipper_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

Read Full Post »

The little skipper butterfly found a dandelion to be particularly appealing and I like this simple image that captured their brief encounter.

dandy_skipperA_blog

Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

Read Full Post »

Bees were one of my initial subjects when I started photographing insects six months ago. Even now,  I can’t resist snapping a few shots whenever I see them. I never expected to encounter them in late October, however, so it was a nice surprise yesterday, when I was able to capture these images of bees at work (and a skipper too).

Bee in the fall with a single flower

Bee in the fall with multiple flowers

Skipper in the fall

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

Almost everywhere that I have seen flowers the last few weeks I have seen skippers. One of the few varieties that I can identify is the Silver-spotted Skipper butterfly (Epargyreus clarus) which I feature in my first photo.

Silver-spotted Skipper

Many of the other skippers, however, look almost the same to me. Wikipedia says that there are more 3500 recognized species of skippers, so I don’t feel too bad about my identification difficulties. Here’s a photo of one of the 3499 non-Silver-spotted Skippers on a sunflower.

Unidentified skipper on a sunflower

This must be the season for the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus), because I see them almost everywhere too. I’ve posted lots of photos of swallowtails recently, but I figure that the bright color of the swallowtails will complement the more muted tones of the skippers. Besides, the different lighting and angles of the shots makes them very different photos for me, even when the subject is the same.

Male Eastern Tiger Swallowtail against the sky

Looking downward at a female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »