Category Archives: Nature

Wintertime Cloudless Sulfur

We had a glorious, if not quite right for the middle of winter, weather day today. It was sunny and temps were in the low 70s  (21C). I spotted several Cloudless Sulfur butterflies zipping around the swamp this afternoon.

Brightly colored Camellias, which bloom all winter here, were popular feeding spots.

Cloudless Sulfur Butterfly on Camellia
Cloudless Sulfur Butterfly on Camellia

This nearly gone by Jonquil didn’t look like much but the butterfly spent some time working it over.

Cloudless Sulfur Butterfly on Jonquil
Cloudless Sulfur Butterfly on Jonquil

This dandelion bloom hardly made it through the fallen leaves, making a perfect low spot for the butterfly.

Cloudless Sulfur Butterfly on Dandelion
Cloudless Sulfur Butterfly on Dandelion

Nature’s Camoflage

Spotting wildlife is often about subtle contrasts and shapes. The subject’s movement sometimes helps. This Sapsucker flew onto the tree then froze in place.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Looking for the unexpected can help.

Tree Frog
Tree Frog

Some creatures hardly move, like the Tree Frog, and others, like this warbler, are in perpetual motion so it’s helpful to anticipate their next direction.

Black-and-white Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler

Man, Raptor, Dolphin Using the River

There was a lot of activity to be seen on a late afternoon boat ride into the Harbor River from Russ Point on Hunting Island, SC even as the day came to an end.

From the beach near the dock a fisherman was casting into the river.

Fly Fisherman
Fly Fisherman

A Bald Eagle watched over the river and surrounding marsh from a dead tree.

Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle

A pod of Dolphins was all around us as we set out, probably fishing for the last meal of the day.

Dolphin Tale
Dolphin Tale

Off in the distance it was raining.

Sun Rain Clouds
Sun Rain Clouds

The Harbor River is at the southern end of the Ashepoo-Combahee-Edisto (ACE) Basin National Estuarine Research Reserve.

The Reserve’s 99,308 acres of pine and hardwood upland, oyster reef, forested wetland, barrier islands, cypress swamp, and tidal marsh combine to make this one of the largest undeveloped estuaries on the East Coast and home to many endangered species.

Black Swallowtail Butterfly

This Black Swallowtail Butterfly flitted along on the outside of the plants lining the walkway as I went along the edge of the pond, obscuring my view. Finally he landed in a fern and seemed to peak through the fronds.

Black Swallowtail Butterfly
Black Swallowtail Butterfly on Fern

He then moved to a more open area and spent some time on this statice type plant.

Black Swallowtail Butterfly
Black Swallowtail Butterfly

The plant was down an embankment putting me even with the Butterfly for part of his feeding.

Black Swallowtail Butterfly
Black Swallowtail Butterfly

The area just beyond these plants has recently been flooded as part of a plan to make an additional pond near the heron rookery. Next year the vegetation will likely be very different here.

Black Swallowtail Butterfly
Black Swallowtail Butterfly

A year ago I captured similar images of butterfly and plant at a different pond about 25 miles (40 Kilometers) from this spot and thought the plant to be Brazilian Vervain (Verbena brasiliensis).  Black Swallowtail Butterfly is the post if you’d like to compare.