Thursday, August 25, 2011

Zebras? In Wildwood?

No way, you say!
Zebras don't go galloping through our valleys and over our ridges. Ridiculous!
However, I do find some lovely creatures as I wander with my camera. Several times I have taken photos of a very small moth - a Snowy Urola (Urola nivallis).

Snowy is an appropriate name because it is as white as snow.

One day, as I walked down the slope into the floodplain under the North Bridge, I saw a white flutter and thought that it might be Snowy. However, it was a little bigger and kept crawling under the grass and would not let me get a good look, much less a photo. I followed it along until it flew over the bike path and across the creek beyond where I could chase. Oh, well, there was a beautiful butterfly at the butterfly bush in the meadow.

I knew that this was a Spicebush Swallowtail because I could see the two rows of orange spots as it nectared on the sweet flowers. It was missing one of its "tails" and might have had a narrow escape when a bird tried to have it for lunch!

Something else flew to the bush with tiny wings beating rapidly like humming bird wings. But it wasn't a bird it was a moth - a Snowberry Clearwing (Himaris diffinis). It is sometimes called a humming bird moth because it uses its wings to hover as it sips nectar from flowers.

I walked back up to the bike path and saw that the Cup Plants were beginning to bloom, their bright yellow disks shinning in the sun.

Cup Plants have an unusual attachment of their leaves to the plant's stem:

The stem perfoliates or pierces through the fused leaves and forms - you guessed it - a cup!

Cup plants grow six to eight feet tall and rain water gathers in the cups.

I was still curious about the white moth that flew away from my camera, so I returned a couple of days later to that same slope. Yes, I saw the white flutter again! But again it flew up toward the bike path. That's okay, I could stay busy with plenty of other plants and critters. As I looked around for my next shot, I saw the familiar white flutter, and it was down near the creek this time. The chase was on! I snapped!

Ah, ha! I saw a wing tip! Now it became a game of Hide and Seek!

I snapped again - what a tease!

Oh, I liked what I saw! I got down on my hands and knees and set my camera carefully on the ground.
One final snap just before the white flutter flew away across the bike path again and was gone.

That was okay because I had won the game! I had a wonderful photo of the Zebra of Wildwood, a moth named Zebra Conchylodes (Conchylodes ovulalis). This zebra flies over our  valleys and ridges instead of galloping...
but it sort of looks like a zebra, don't you think?

No comments:

Post a Comment