Our Black Swallowtails have got just about as big as they are going to get. They're over one and a half inches long now and almost as big around as my little finger. These are seriously chunky cats and ready to pupate
This is where the fun starts as we now have to track down their hiding places if we want to continue to keep an eye on development. One or two have already 'disappeared' and I'm going to have to search around the deck and especially the deck rail to find the corners where they have laid up to complete their metamorphosis.
How do they avoid becoming the main course for any passing bird? Camouflaged they aren't. But these are decidedly warning colours. Living on a diet of fennel, parsley and dill has to impart a certain piquancy of flavour. The if that wasn't enough they have active defence. Just getting too close when taking pictures can bring out ... the horns.
These look like they belong to a rather nasty TeleTubby but they appear like inflatable antennae and produce a very strong smell. Hard to describe, musky and acrid and I imagine if you were a bird getting a face-full you would remember next time.
Another female Black Swallowtail was laying yesterday and there is a new scattering of eggs on the fennel and dill. Our big cats have already made very serious inroads into the food plants. I suspect this next crew will pretty much decimate the herbs for this year. Better get all the potato salad made that I can while I still have a supply of fresh dill.
Hmmm thats a thought. I might just share my potato salad recipe if I'm feeling generous. Watch this space.
Down by the pond the species count is going up as the temperature does. Again it proved difficult to get close to any specimens but the long lense is OK for 6 - 8 feet on these reasonable large beasts.
I was especially pleased to finally get a perched shot of a Carolina Saddlebags. I've been trying for years now and hadn't got anything even half decent. These things a fliers, high and fast as a rule and Ive rarely seen one perch and certainly not within range of any of my lenses. So... whoopie!
This seems to be the time of year for red dragonflies as also around Sunday were the first Needhams Skimmers, which will become pretty numerous as the summer rolls on. There will be more and better Needhams pics as they move out more from the pond and start to venture into the garden.
And finally the Halloween Pennant, which is very common around here. They have a distinctive fluttering flight more like a butterfly than a dragonfly. You can find them perched
almost anywhere that you find a tall plant. They range far and wide and you'll find them a good distance from any water.
Next time, potato salad and pupae (I hope).