Thursday, June 14, 2012

Fire in the Grass, and Some Aerial Drama

This morning's visit to Southford Falls State Park brought some lovely sights. Orange Hawkweed (Hieracium aurantiacum, an introduced species) was sending its glorious firework-blooms up into the air, attracting many small insects:

Could there be a more perfect platform for this American Copper butterfly (Lycaena phlaeas)?

I can't think of one!

Overhead, three Red-shouldered Hawks were calling and wheeling through the air. One of the hawks had secondary flight feathers that were strangely much shorter than its primaries -- is this the result of a normal molting pattern, or something else?

A nearby Common Grackle wasn't very happy about the hawks' presence, and proceeded to chase one of the larger birds (this one has more normal wing feathers):

I do have to admire the nerve of smaller birds when they take on big predator like that -- and this grackle was even getting the job done on its own. The situation doesn't look very fun for the hawk, though!

Let's have some more of these lovely sunny days, please! :)


  1. Oh, oh, oh, just exquisite, your photos of the butterfly and hawkweed! Thanks for posting. Great shots, too, of the birds and their airborne drama.

    1. Thank you very much, Jackie! I had fun photographing them. :)