Animals Our Life Photography

Best 2020 Critter Pics – Part Two

Our many animal encounters of 2020 kept us from feeling too isolated in our year of social hibernation.

Enter the winged things
American lady, Vanessa virginiensis
Eastern Tailed Blue Butterfly, Everes comyntas
Question Mark Butterfly, Polygonia interrogationis
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly, Papilio glaucus

This apparent wealth of winged delights belies the truth. Butterflies were noticeably absent this year, and our milkweed survived the season untouched by monarchs.

Snowberry Clearwing Moth, Hemaris diffinis on the ice plant in our peony garden
Clearwing, proboscis curled, honing in on our kitchen garden red rocket dianthus
Identifying characteristics of Hemaris diffinis include a black band across its eye and black legs
White Lined Sphinx Moth, Hyles lineata
A three-inch Sphinx moth

These large moths are so birdlike in their movements you do double and triple takes before realizing you should run inside for the camera and shoot.

Southern Cloudywing Moth, Thorybes bathyllus, in the Pollinator Garden outside the Jordan Lake US Army Corps of Engineers Visitor Center
The Webby Things
Yellow Garden Spider, Argiope aurantia
A view of the brown spider spinneret, or thread-spinning organ, underneath a garden spider’s abdomen

By early July, several large garden spiders set up shop, turning tomato and okra harvests into a dance resembling the limbo.

New growth spike on a young pine
Pine candle spider

One fine July morning, we walked through a garden of young pines near the dam. We were taken with their upright buds of new growth (called candles) and upon closer inspection, discovered a miniscule spider clinging to one of the spires.

Busy Bees
Bumblebee on purple passion in our peony garden
Bumblebee crawling out of Murasaki Sweet Potato flower

Bees relentlessly worked the garden all day and, as far as we can tell, slept in potato flowers at night. In the morning when the blooms began opening, we would watch the sluggish bees crawl out and fly off.

Close  Encounters
A bumblebee flies towards a butterfly on a thistle blossom at Jordan Lake State Recreation Area
Anoles getting it on on a back porch post
Summing Up
Eastern Box Turtle, Terrapene carolina carolina, snacking on grass underneath one of our garden totes
Male box turtles have red eyes while the females’ eyes are brown

The turtle is an apt mascot for 2020. We mostly hunkered down, doing our part to limit the spread of the virus, in retreat beneath the dome of our house — solitary, and complete.

See Critter Pics – Part One

By Camille Armantrout

Camille lives with her soul mate Bob in the back woods of central North Carolina where she hikes, gardens, cooks, and writes.

4 replies on “Best 2020 Critter Pics – Part Two”

Thanks for sharing!!
Wishing both of you a happy and prosperous New Year free of the pandemic.

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