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Laurel Run is Blooming
Lens: FA 50 macro, Adaptall 90mm with 2X TC Camera: K20D Photo Location: East Tennessee 
Posted By: mole, 04-29-2014, 07:55 PM

Was out at Laurel Run Park in nearby Hawkins County recently, checking for a rare plant. We also enjoyed seeing so many new butterflies of the season. Here's a dark morph female Tiger Swallowtail on a Wood Poppy bloom.




Here are a few more views of her nectaring plant. Wood Poppy flourishes in damp, rich, shady woodlands - a good description of Laurel Run!





Here's a male Tiger Swallowtail working the Spring Larkspur. Larkspur nectar is way back in the spur of each flower, and so it's perfect for the Swallowtail's long tongue!




Pipevine Swallowtails were also working the Spring Larkspur.




Spring Larkspur is usually blue or purplish in color, but some individual plants may have other flower colors!






Here's a rather rare butterfly - the West Virginia White. Unfortunately, that plant he's nectaring on is a very destructive invasive exotic. Garlic Mustard chokes out native wildflowers. Also, there is a chemical in Garlic Mustard leaves that kills caterpillars. When the Whites (or other butterflies) lay eggs on Garlic Mustard, the caterpillars do not live to become butterflies... (We did pull up a lot of Garlic Mustard that day!)




But what about the rare plant? We did find a thriving population - well off the beaten path - of Goldenseal. It's a plant much sought-after for medicinal purposes. Folks seek out and dig the plants to sell the roots. So we were glad to see this healthy patch thriving in a safe and remote location.






This Luna Moth hopes you enjoyed a glimpse of the flowers and 'flies of Laurel Run! Thanks for any comments & critique!


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04-30-2014, 06:16 AM   #2
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Very nice.
04-30-2014, 06:52 AM   #3
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There is no doubt spring is in full bloom there.
04-30-2014, 05:17 PM   #4
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Tony - So glad you enjoyed these!

Dave - And these are from about a week or more ago - it's even deeper into spring here now!

04-30-2014, 05:23 PM   #5
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Very nice shots.It won't be long until mother nature brightens things up around here.It seems like it has been a long time coming.--charliezap
04-30-2014, 06:23 PM   #6
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Amazing stuff - a delight to see.

Jer
05-01-2014, 07:47 AM   #7
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Wow, Beautifully done shots. The Swallowtails won't be here for another month.
05-01-2014, 08:24 AM   #8
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That is some excellent shooting!

05-01-2014, 09:09 AM   #9
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Love! The Luna moth is an amazing photo. Great pictures.
05-01-2014, 10:59 AM   #10
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excelent
05-01-2014, 07:19 PM   #11
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Charlie- You certainly have had a long cold winter. Hope your springtime starts SOON!

Jer - Glad you enjoyed these!

Reed - We've had a mild and relatively early spring, with plenty of swallowtails. Hope yours are out and flying soon!

Steve - Thanks for your kind words!

Susan - Lunas are certainly amazing moths. They've been emerging as adults here for almost a month already! This one was in rather decrepit shape - one wing almost entirely torn off with many marks of bird beaks. That's why I chose the close-up treatment...

Zztopd - Thanks!
05-02-2014, 04:34 AM   #12
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Wow, just lovely.
05-02-2014, 06:18 AM   #13
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Your photos are always inspiring. It's been a tough week, and I'm looking forward to a nice long walk in the woods with my camera tomorrow.
05-02-2014, 08:04 AM   #14
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That is a great series! My fovourite shot is the one with the West Virginia White butterfly.
05-02-2014, 11:00 AM   #15
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Great series of wildflowers and butterflies…good to see the swallowtails. Last summer was the worst in memory around here for butterflies… I hope that your sightings are a good sign of the season ahead
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