Lepidoptera Photography Collection

Lepidoptera is the order of butterflies and moths. I have discovered so many this year. Mostly in larvae form but still fascinating all the same. Here is my collection of various caterpillars, moths and butterflies that I have photographed so far.

Black Swallowtail Butterfly
Black Swallowtail Butterfly, distinguishable from other similar species by single dots on the back wings surrounded by orange. This particular one had a torn wing but it didn’t seem to keep it from taking air!
Green horned Caterpillar
Green Horned Caterpillar (see also Tomato hornworm and Tobacco Hornworm), Vegetable gardeners hate them as them munch, munch, munch away! It’s recommended to squash them but I wouldn’t have the heart to. Besides they transform into beautiful Sphinx moths!

 

 

Harnessed Tiger Moth
Harnessed Tiger Moth, often mistaken for a butterfly because of it’s striking pattern!

 

 

Io Moth Caterpillar
Io Moth Caterpillar, Stay away from this guy. Those spikes are tipped with poison which will leave you with a burning, itching rash for an hour or so!
Silver spotted skipper
Silver Spotted Skipper Butterfly, There are over 3,000 species of skipper in the world. This particular one can be found in 48 states in the U.S.
Tent Caterpillar
Tent Caterpillar, Various species create “tents” as homes while others like this one will just huddle in social groups in trees.

 

 

White marked tussock moth caterpillar
White marked Tussock Moth Caterpillar, This caterpillar boasts a long tail and hair tufts that will leave a rash similar to the Io Moth Caterpillar.

 

HM photo
Hummingbird Moth, You can learn all about these guys here in a previous post I put together.

 

 

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Things to do: Tulip Fest

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I was finally able to make my way out to the Tulip Fest in Albany, New York. It’s held every year on Mother’s Day weekend in Washington Park. I have been wanting to go for the past couple years but never got the chance to. This year I just barely made it! We went on the last day two hours before it ended. My son and I went on Mother’s Day the Sunday before last. I was a little concerned when I continuously heard from others that the crowds were horrendous! By the time we got there though, we parked only a block away and the crowds were minimal. There was plenty of elbow room! The tulips and other flowers were beautiful and everyone was getting their picture taken in front of them. There were a lot of different vendors and a whole section just for art vendors! I definitely want to set up my own booth there in the future!

It was a great place to take a relaxing walk and I enjoyed the time my son and I spent together. It was a great Mother’s Day and I enjoyed photographing the park. I hope you like the pictures and if you haven’t made your way to Tulip Fest yet, I recommend it for next year! Or have you been to one before? Share your Tulip Fest story or photo below! Thanks for stopping by.

Until next time,

“The flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of all.”

Photo Journal: Schodack Town Park

We had a quick break in the rain last weekend where the sun peeked out and the air was warm. My family and I made our way to Schodack Town Park for a peaceful stroll before more rain was due to come that evening. It was nice to finally get out and enjoy the outdoors, the green, the water, the wildlife. I love nature! We found some salamanders that I was able to get a few macro shots of and we also found big beautiful green frogs. I sought out to photography some wildlife and I was able to do just that. I was surprised we did not find any turtles. If your looking for a quiet and easy hike to enjoy some sunshine and see some critters, Schodack Town Park is a good place to start.

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoy the photographs!

Until next time,

“The most beautiful thing in the world is, of course, the world itself.”

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  • Ending quote from the movie “Castaway”

Travel to: New England Aquarium

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It was trying to be a difficult day but no matter how hard the day tried we still had a blast! The drive to Boston, MA is roughly three hours for us. We had heard great admiration about the New England Aquarium from friends and family and knew it would be worth the drive. It was forecasted to be a sunny 70 degrees that day but turned out to be a cloudy,windy 40!

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When we finally arrived in the city, we wanted to check out Quincy Market before hand to grab lunch. We had tickets for a 3-D IMAX movie at the aquarium but gave ourselves enough time to eat first. So we started walking towards what we thought was the market until we realized we were walking in the wrong direction for 15 minutes. Did I mention it was cold out! We wasted so much time trying to figure out where we were but we finally found Quincy Market, found some food (very yummy seafood from Salty Dog), and quickly got to the aquarium to catch our movie.

Lines were crazy but moved quickly. We thought we might miss our show but made it in the nick of time. Phew! Turns out we didn’t have to rush. They were having issues with the equipment and couldn’t get the movie to play. They tried for 25 minutes before they called it. Luckily they offered refunds or tickets for another visit. We chose the tickets. We stayed in good spirits and headed to the actual aquarium now. That’s when the real fun began!

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It was pretty crowded but it was a systematic chaos. We were still able to check out everything. Everyone kept moving to give others a chance to look at all the different tanks. When we first walked in, we headed straight for the penguins. The penguin enclosures were just below the first floor so you walked above them, looking over the ledge. It was like they could swim through the bottom floor and you could watch them as you walked around the entire aquarium. There was three different species and they were feeding them when we were there. They were funny to watch; they hopped from here to there, diving in the water and swimming rapidly after each other! I kept thinking about the Penguins of Madagascar and it made me laugh.

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In the very center of the building is a huge cylindrical tank that starts on the first floor and goes all the way to the top. There is a walkway that spirals all the way up and you can watch all the fish swim by in the gigantic tube of water. It’s about four floors high and all the way at the top, at the time, they were giving a seminar and you could look down into the huge tank. There were bonnethead sharks, rays, big balloonfish, and so many other colorful crazy things I don’t even know what they were! Not to mention the green sea turtle which you would never believe her gigantic size until you see her in person! Beautiful, gorgeous animal! She was definitely my favorite creature in the entire aquarium.

We saw shadowy piranhas, electric eels, mesmerizing jellyfish, seals and sea lions, a beautiful octopus and even a ginormous anaconda! We saw native fish, exotic fish, one, fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish! (see what I did there ;)) The cuttlefish were oddly adorable as well!

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The entire day was overwhelmingly fantastic! I really wish I could go on a slow day or in a perfect world after hours. I would just sit there all night; I would watch them all and draw everything I could in amazing colors. I would fill an entire sketchbook. Maybe one of these days I will go out there and do just that. Talk about some meditation.

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So much seemed to go against the grain with this day but it turned out absolutely amazing…and we didn’t even get to see the 3-D IMAX movie! We are excited to see one next time we go back because we are definitely going back!

Have you been to the New England Aquarium? What was your favorite creature? Share your story in the comments below. And if you haven’t made it there yet, I highly recommend going with the family! (or alone for some artful meditation ;)) Thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed the photography!

Until next time,

“I am a nice shark, not a mindless eating machine. If I am to change this image, I must first change myself. Fish are friends, not food.”

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Photo Journal: Beloved Pets

I was finally able to visit a friend I hadn’t seen in a while yesterday. I brought my camera so I could mess around with it some more and get a feel for the different lenses. I took pictures of her pets who are always a pleasure to see. She has one dog, Country, and two cats, Smokey and Bella. Her son was visiting as well and brought his pup, Ruby, for a playdate. Bella was hiding the entire time so I wasn’t able to get a picture of her but I got the other three. They are so adorable, as are most animals in my opinion. Ruby is a young, energetic pup that wanted to play and be in everyone’s lap. Country enjoys silence, order and naps. Smokey the cat is a big, fat love muffin. Just make sure you have your back brace on before you pick her up. She is a total Garfield!

I hope you enjoy their sweet faces as much as I do. What do you love about your pet? Share your story in the comments below! Thanks for stopping by this week!

Until next time,

“Maybe the legend of dogs coming from wolves is jus… is just wrong. Maybe, like, maybe one puppy asked his mom, “Where did we come from?” And the mom said “Woof.” And the kid was like, “Oh wolves?” And she was like, “Yeah, fine.”

 

 

The True Nermal

 

It’s a phenomenal feeling when your son tells you everyday for months that you got him the best birthday present he has ever received. This is usually the case though when it involves a kitten. It has been almost a year now since we have brought home that kitten for my son so I figured it was time to give her the spotlight.

Her name is Chloe. We told my son he could name her whatever he wanted. We were surprised when he picked a cute and fitting name instead of Mittens, Fluffy or something of the sort. I think he may have been inspired by the movie, “The Secret Life of Pets” but he denies this. It’s just coincidental that our Chloe also happens to be a gray cat like in the movie.

At the time, my friend’s cat had just had a litter that she was trying to find homes for. All the other kittens had been spoken for except one little gray dust bunny. About 80% of her was pure fluff with the remaining 20% being her actual body. She was only eleven weeks old and was so tiny she could fit in a tea cup! All Chloe wanted to do from the moment we met her was melt away in our arms, safe, cozy and protected.

Here we are about a year later and she’s still melting into our arms like an infant made of putty. She has her daily routine which consists of 8-10 naps throughout the day, only waking for the necessities that require moving. You know… eating and drinking , pooping, receiving attention. The three basic needs of cats. She rises after her morning/noon siestas, in a sleepy stupor. She realizes it has been far too long since she has had human interaction and tracks us down. With no mind or matter what we may be in the middle of, she meows every so sweetly and consistently until we pick her up and love her. She will also harass you endlessly if she can see a bare spot in her food bowl. There can be piles of food on the sides of the bowl, plenty for her to eat, but if she can see the bottom even the slightest bit she demands it be filled to the top. She then daintily paws out one piece of food at a time and eats it off of the floor. When she’s finished, she’ll paw out the next piece and eat that one and so on and so forth until she is satisfied. The same goes for her water. There cannot be one tiny hair in it, even her own. It must be totally fresh and filled to the top. When she goes to drink it, she has to shake her bowl so she can see the water rippling. In the process, she’s dragging her water dish across the kitchen floor spilling more water than she’s drinking. All the while, she’s not actually drinking anything because the water is sloshing around and she hates getting water on her chin. Life can be challenging for the domestic cat, let me tell ya!

Besides naps, she also enjoys a good round of cat and mouse. In this game, you are the mouse. She comes out of nowhere and attacks your feet, legs, long hair, whatever she decides must die at the moment. She loves hiding under the bed…silently waiting…to leap out at me latching onto my leg like an octopus! It’s always in good fun and she never hurts us when she’s playing but by George she scares the crap out of me! She loves her kitty toys. Mr. Owl, a stuffed owl who squeaks and is always covered in catnip, is a top pick of hers. Although, her favorite “toy” is the plastic seal you peel off of milk cartons and such. I had left one on the table and when she came across it (jumping on the tables like bad kitties do)she went ballistic! She was batting it around, chasing it and carrying it around proudly like a fresh kill. You could spend hours watching this cat play with garbage. It is absolutely hilarious. Especially since she is still in that young, clumsy stage. Now I always throw them on the floor for her to enjoy for a while.

She is a riot and we love having her around. I still find it irresistible to run up to her and pet her and squeeze her and love her just like Elmyra from Tiny Toons! Her fur is ridiculously soft and she is so trusting she will droop over your neck like a scarf, just hanging there. She will lay in your arms, roll around getting comfortable and expect you to catch her if she starts to fall. She would love to be chauffeured around the house, sleeping in your arms. The less effort she has to put in the better. Even when you try to set her down, she won’t put her legs down and support herself. She will just lay wherever you placed her, however you placed her. I have never met such a “lax-a-daisy” cat! Even as I currently write this, she is laying completely sprawled out in my lap, sleeping like a rock! I have to keep sliding the laptop closer to my chest because she’s gradually overtaking my bubble. Yet, I keep sitting here uncomfortably typing this to appease her. Damn cats…gonna take over the world with their adorably cute mind control they have over humans. “Awwwww….look at the adorable kitty cat!” After that, your hooked. They have officially taken control.

That is the story of how the true Nermal came to be. “The cuuuuutest cat in the world” and she very well knows it! Her little “cat”itude proves it. She is “paw”sitively spoiled. I am not “kitten” around. Ok…ok…I’ll stop. Thanks for stopping by this week! Hope you enjoyed meeting Princess Chloe.

What silly things do your cats do? Share your story in the comments below!

Until next time,

“You just woke me up from a very deep catnap. Even a great beauty needs her beauty sleep.”

Photo Journal: Summer Sendoff

I can’t believe summer is over. I am very excited for fall to begin. The summer weather seems to be sticking around for a little while longer though. Sometimes they just don’t know when to leave, ya know?! Now don’t get me wrong, summer does have some wonderful qualities. I greatly enjoyed working beside the bugs and critters in the flower beds this year. The cicadas and frogs played quite a concerto for us. The flowers were radiant thanks to the abundant rains. It was insane to see how much everything grew this year!

I would like to honor the summer of 2017 one last time with a photo journal of all the magnificent treasures I saw during the season. I hope you all had a remarkable summer as well! Share your story in the comments below. Thanks for stopping by!

Until next time,

“If you vote for me, it will be summer all year round.”

 

Photo Journal: Beach Treasures at Magee Marsh

I made my way to Lake Erie again a couple weeks ago. My family and I walked the beach at Magee Marsh Wildlife Area. It is known for it’s bird watching boasting over 300 different species recorded! Driving up to the beach we passed an eagle’s nest in the trees next to the road. Unfortunatley, no one was home. 

Some interesting beach art.

The beach was peaceful with a consistant, cool breeze. The sand was soft at first. As the tide came in it brought millions of tiny shells and other treasures. It was quite pokey to walk on. We found some “lucky stones”. They look like small, white pebbles with markings resembling either “L” or “J”. They are actually the ear bone of a freshwater drum fish or more commonly known as a sheephead. Fisherman will keep one in their pocket for good luck and others have adopted it into their own collections. I love beach treasures!

“Lucky Stone”

What are some beach treasure you have found? Any lucky gems? Share your story in the comments below! Thanks for stopping by this week! 

Until next time,

“Not all treasure is silver and gold, mate.”

The inside of a shell, looks like a planet.

The gulls take flight.
The waves were splashing.
Driftwood….or art supplies?
So many treasures to find!
See what I mean!
Driftwood statues.

Photo Journal: Bugs & Botany

The creepy crawlers have been plentiful this year. Everyday that I work outside, I find a new critter to marvel at. I have seen quite a few cicadas and cicada killers. The butterflies have been fluttering about and I have even seen a group of hummingbird moths this year. There has been an abundance of spiders as well!

With all this rain we have been getting, the gardens are full and vibrant. I can’t help but take a photo everytime I’m outside. I have compiled a few of my favorite bug and botany photos from the season. What a beautiful year!

 

Snow on the Mountain (Euphorbia Marginata)
Cicada, latin for “tree cricket”
Salsa Red Cone Flower (Echinacea)
Cicada Killer (Sphecius Speciosus)
Blackeyed Susan (Rudbeckia Hirta)
Hickory Tussock Moth Caterpillar (Lophocampa Caryae) Be careful around these guys and don’t touch them! Their hairs will get stuck in your skin and irritate you the same way poison ivy will! Itchy!!
Purple Vein Ray Petunia
Striped Petunias – Petunias originated in South America and there 35 different species.
Bumblebee enjoying Purple Loosestrife
A Bumblebee enjoying Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)

 

Black Swallowtail, female
Black Swallowtail, female (Papilio polyxenes) also known as American Swallowtail or Parsnip Swallowtail.
Knock Out Roses
Knock Out Roses, a hybrid from the Rosa genus.
Unidentified Moth
Unidentified Moth, possibly a White-streaked Prominent – (Oligocentria lignicolor)

Thanks for stopping by this week! I hope you enjoyed my collection. If anyone can identify that last moth, please feel free to leave a comment below! Or if you have any stories about creepy crawlies you have seen this summer, please share!

Until next time,

“Ladies and gentlebugs! Larvae of all stages! Rub your legs together for the world’s greatest bug circus!”

Bloom where you are planted.

 

Photo Journal: Kayaking at Round Lake

I tried out my new kayak the other weekend at Round Lake, NY. It was a beautiful area, especially following down Anthony Kill (Tenandaho Creek). There was an abundance of water lilies and dragonflies as well as other marshland critters. The air was cool and the sun was shining. We kayaked all the way around the lake, down the creek and back. It was a total of about 5-6 miles and we sure felt it afterwards! It was worth it though and still very relaxing.

It’s definitely a place I would visit again. Thanks for stopping by this week! Do you have any favorite spots for kayaking? Share a comment below. I would love to check out some new places!

Until next,

“The rainstorm and the river are my brothers.”
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