Saturday, September 15, 2012

Red Admirals and Green Frogs


A Red Admiral Butterfly, Schoenbrun Nature Conservatory, Door County, WI; 6/20/2012.
This Summer I started making a point to do more Butterfly photography, which in the past was haphazard at best. As I became a little more versed in my butterfly identification I found that the Red Admiral (Above) was one of the more common members of the Brushfoot family to find in the Midwest.
Red Admiral, Deer Run Forest Preserve, Cherry Valley, IL; 7/1/2012.
One of the best places for "butterfly hunting" seemed to be in two of my favorite Forest Preserves , Deer Run and Blackhawk Springs, both having excellent wildflower prairies and dark forests - both good habitats for finding butterflies. I found Red Admirals mostly in forests and forest edges many times near streams or ponds, but also had good luck finding them along roadsides with wildflowers.
A Red Admiral and Bullfrog, Deer Run Forest Preserve, Cherry Valley, IL; 7/1/2012.
While hunting dragonflies at Deer Run Forest Preserve, the erratic flight of a Red Admiral caught my eye. I followed its flight pattern as it landed on a log across a murky pond. I zoomed in for a few pictures. I decided to pan back to capture it in its environment. As I was checking my LED screen to check on my settings, only then did I notice that there was a Green Frog (at least I think it's a Green Frog, not a Bullfrog) less than a foot from the Red Admiral (Above). This Green Frog totally escaped my detection until I saw it in my images.
A closer look at the Red Admiral in the sightlines of a hopeful Green Frog, Deer Run Forest Preserve, Cherry Valley, IL; 7/1/2012.
After discovering its presence, I put more of my attention on the Green Frog which was definitely focused upon the Red Admiral. I am sure the Green Frog was thinking about a convenient midday meal. I tried to focus on the two to see if I could capture a strike ...
This Green Frog blended in perfectly with the log it was sitting on, Deer Run Forest Preserve, Cherry Valley, IL; 7/1/2012.
I was wondering if the Red Admiral was even aware that the Frog was there as it perfectly blended in with its surroundings, and how close it might be to ceasing to exist.  I wasn't sure how close prey had to be in order for a frog to make a successful strike. I waited for a couple of long minutes and neither amphibian nor butterfly made a move. I was guessing that Mr. Green wasn't close enough to throw its sticky tongue at the butterfly and was also waiting for Mr. Red to make a fatal move closer within striking range. Unfortunately my arms were getting heavy from holding up my Canon Rebel D7 with Sigma 150-500mm lens attached. As I lowered my equipment, the Red Admiral flew off. Both I and the Green Frog missed our opportunity.
Another Green Frog, which was eyeing damselflies, Rock Cut State Park; 7/17/2012.

Another Red Admiral, Dee Run Forest Preserve, Cheery Valley, IL; 4/22/2012.
A good look at a Red Admiral's colorful wing pattern (Above), which is pretty much unmistakable, as no other Midwestern butterfly has these fiery red-orange bands and white spots on an otherwise all black wing span.

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