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I have only seen these a few times in my 67 years. Mostly, during my childhood in east-central Missouri. I would see maybe 1 each week. Then later in my 20’s I would see a few by the Huzzah Creek in south-central Missouri. That I can remember, that is the last time I saw one. Until Yesterday !

It is the Diana Fritillary Butterfly. Since then they have retreated to only two know locations: the Southern Appalachians in North Carolina and parts of South-Carolina AND in the mountains of Arkansas and Oklahoma; primarily the Ouachita’s.

The Diana Fritillary (Speyeria diana) is a butterfly found in several wooded areas in southern and eastern North America (primarily in the Arkansas River valley, several counties in South Carolina, and spots along the Appalachian mountain range). The species exhibits marked sexual dimorphism, with males of the species exhibiting an orange color on the edges of their wings, with a burnt orange underwing. Females are dark blue, with dark, almost dusty underwings, and are also larger than males.

The larvae feed on violet leaves. Dianas are unusual in that they do not lay their eggs directly on the host plant, instead scattering the eggs around the base of the plant. Upon hatching, larvae burrow into the ground over winter to emerge in spring. Adults feed on flower nectar and dung.

On February 28, 2007, Act 156 of the Arkansas General Assembly designated the Diana fritillary as the official state butterfly. Introduced by Representative John Paul Wells of Logan County, the legislation for making the butterfly a state symbol took note of the butterfly’s beauty, educational importance, and impact on tourism. Arkansas is the only state to designate the Diana fritillary as its state butterfly; pairing it with its state insect, the honeybee. Arkansas is the twenty-sixth state to designate a butterfly as a state symbol.

So 40 years later ……….

The photo I took yesterday is of a pretty beat up Male Diana Fritillary; near the Diana’s Host woodland violets. Taken with a Canon 70D with a Canon EF300L IS f/2.8 from 10 feet:

 

Rare Male Diana Fritillary

Rare Male Diana Fritillary

When into Jasper this morning early. The fog in the mountains was spectacular; took a few photos on the way home:

 

Fog at sun-up

Fog at sun-up

I was driving home from Jasper Arkansas, on Tuesday, prior to the cold and rain, and I spotted a male Pileated Woodpecker determined to drill into the bark of a tree. There must have been ants or termites in the tree. He was so busy, I stopped the car up next to the tree and took a dozen shots with a Canon 7D and a Canon EF300L IS f/2.8 Lens.

 

Down the Mountain

Down the Mountain

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This little male Ruby Throat Hummingbird, awakened to low temperatures of 56F and the temperature dropped to 56F by noon today, they will find temperatures as low as 44F tomorrow morning. They came late to the feeders this morning; say about 11 AM. In addition to using feeders, the birds glean dormant insects from leaves and bark, he says. “When temperatures rise, they hawk tiny insects out of the air. They also feed at sapsucker wells,” eating both the sap and trapped insects. To conserve energy, hummingbirds often go into torpor at night, and on colder days before migration to the Yucatan, Mexico ,slowing down their heart and lungs to a fraction of daytime rates. I could walk right up and touch him.  “These birds are very cold hardy” !!

 

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Yellow on Yellow

American Goldfinch in dried Monarda (Bee Balm) patch; with a lone Coreopsis (Unknown Sunflower):

 

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A Female American Goldfinch perched on a Thistle head:

 

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Today I had 2 adult male orioles on the Hummingbird Feeders and a female and one juvenile interested in the Red Raspberries.  These pictures are of the female and juvenile bird waiting to swoop down onto the raspberries. I always forget how beautiful and graceful they are; taken with a Canon 70D and a EF400L f/5.6 at 5.6;

 

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