Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Tiger Swallowtails

July is over, thank you. July, with its 100+ degree temperatures and lousy birding, I won’t miss you a bit. August on the other hand has potential. August is the month when shorebird migration goes into full swing. And yes, August can be hot and dry, too, but the year’s highest temperatures here are recorded in July. Goodbye July. Good riddance.

So ignoring the fact that yesterday was still July, I decided to start my seasonal shorebirding early and made a trip to Susquehanna River to see what could be seen. Now, obviously, inland Pennsylvania is never going to be a shorebirding hotspot, but that’s never stopped me from looking. And yesterday, I did manage to find a small flock of 8 semipalmated sandpipers, a great egret and a couple of great blue herons. So I came home happy with the addition to my year list. And I also saw a female osprey carrying a good-sized fish down the river and a common yellowthroated warbler with a juvenile, a good sign of local breeding.

Back up on the mountain, I have no signs of migration to report—just the ever-growing size of this year’s white-tailed fawns and a blue jay with a penchant for the red-tailed hawk call. Unlike most blue jays, whose mimicry is usually off just enough to quickly realize that the call is coming from an imposter, this one has the call down perfectly. Of course, the bird usually ruins the impression by giving its own alarm call right after the perfect red-tailed hawk call. Still, this bird has the red-tailed hawk call right, if not the good sense to move before scolding with its own.

My photos today are of tiger swallowtails, a butterfly that was very common last year but almost nonexistent this year.  So I was happy to find several over at Brunner Island.


John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

When I worked on a farm we had a starling that did a very good impersonation of our squeaky grain auger - made me think I'd left the thing running on more than one occasion!
One semipalmated sandpiper would cause quite a stir on this side of the pond.

Sabine said...

stunning pictures, beautiful butterflies, thank you

Cathy said...

Agree, good riddance to July and hopefully August goes by fast!

Carolyn H said...

John: I have a lot of mimics here on the mountain--Blue jays, catbirds, mockingbirds. The birds are often very good with their other calls, but there's usually something that gives them away as a fake.

Sabine: Thanks!

Cathy: August isn't my favorite either, though most years it's a slight improvement over July, if only because August means that fall is another month closer!