Monday, August 04, 2008

Spicebush Swallowtail

My photo today is a male spicebush swallowtail. You can tell it’s a male by the blue spots on its lower wings. Females spots here are yellowish, not blue. Also, the female’s yellow spots on the upper wing edge tend to be smaller and less dramatic.

This summer has been a great one at the cabin for swallowtail species. I’ve seen every species of them that are possible here—tiger, zebra, pipevine, great and black. The spicebush is common here and throughout Pennsylvania. For me, the zebra swallowtail was the best sighting. I don’t see them very commonly.

I also wanted to mention another speaker at the Kittatinny Roundtable (see yesterday’s post). Dan Kunkle has color-marked more than 300 Red-tailed Hawks over several seasons, and his results have led him to question the "local redtail" assumptions many hawkwatches make about redtails seen in the early part of the season. Many hawkwatches assume redtails flying around their sites in the early part of the migration season are local birds just fooling around and not migrating. Dan’s returns from his color-marked birds found that none of the birds he trapped stayed where they were color-dyed. The dyes were chosen for the time of year the bird was trapped, and even the early season "trappees" weren’t seen again locally, though many were seen elsewhere, sometimes very far afield.


Cathy said...

Great butterfly photo

If you hawk and was colormarked by this guy. Would you return that area?.

Carolyn H said...

Cathy: Dan did mention that perhaps any truly local red-tails were smart enough not to fall for the trap, though I doulbt that would account for all of them. For one thing, young critters (of any species) are notoriously not smart enough to do what's best for them!
Carolyn H.