Home Field and Swamp: Animals and Their Habitats


   Archived by-Date Pages

May 2012

This month I visited the mountains and the beach, all within North Carolina, but everywhere I saw some new species.  Montreat and the Asheville area were notable for their wildflowers, including flowering Putty Root orchids, and the officially "threatened" Red Knot (subspecies rufa) sandpiper made its appearance at both Fort Macon State Park in Atlantic Beach and at the beach outside town on Ocracoke Island.  I had my first opportunity to see bee flies attempting predation by landing and hovering just outside solitary bee nests; I also saw my second Eastern Beach Tiger Beetle ever.  Back at home, I continued to see very young insects and spiders on the bollards of the Third Fork Creek Trail, many of which defied identification.  A large patch of Coreopsis flowers attracted many American Lady butterflies.  Clearly this odd urban habitat is a special one, and which professional naturalists would benefit from studying.

Third Fork Creek Trail, Durham, NC  5/31/12

Large jumping spider (15 mm long) Katydid nymph on Coreopsis flower Pearl Crescent on Daisy Fleabane? Purple False Foxglove  

Hopper nymph (Oncometopia genus) Spiderling Long-horned beetle (actually, seen at home at night)    

Durham, NC (around the house) 5/30/12

Spider web with raindrops on it Striped Wintergreen flower, with Spined Assassin Bug nymph on top      

Third Fork Creek Trail, Durham, NC  5/28/12

Spiderling Cocklebur Weevil      

Third Fork Creek Trail, Durham, NC  5/27/12

Bug nymph.  Ken Wolgemuth thinks it might be a Podisus genus member (maybe a Spined Soldier Bug) based on BugGuide entries.  The three-segment antennae do match. Adult bug Tarnished Plant Bug Pearl Crescent on dog droppings.  There is no mistaking dog droppings (as opposed to deer scat, for instance): they are the only large carnivores in this area!  

Third Fork Creek Trail, Durham, NC  5/27/12

Chalcid wasp        

Third Fork Creek Trail, Durham, NC  5/26/12

American Lady on a Coreopsis flower Ebony Bug Pearl Crescent Green Six-spotted Tiger Beetle

Ocracoke, Hyde County, NC  5/24/12

Red Knot flying Two Red Knots Black-bellied Plover Sanderling  
Eurasian Collared Dove Black-bellied Plover Firewheels Bee fly at solitary bee nest White-topped Sedge

Ocracoke Island, north end  5/23/12

Eastern Beach Tiger Beetle (Cicindela dorsalis).  The genus name may have recently been changed. Marbled Godwit Marbled Godwit and Sanderling Same Marbled Godwit and Sanderling Firewheels, in a small patch on a dune

Ocracoke, Hyde County, NC  5/23/12

A feral dog barking at me The same dog barking at my husband Bird's-foot Trefoil Mallard bathing in a large puddle left by a big storm Bear Grass

The south end Violet Wood Sorrel (perhaps a member of the same species  as Pink Wood Sorrel: maybe lighting accounts for the slight difference in color) White-topped Sedge Brown-headed Cowbirds  

Ocracoke, Hyde County, NC  5/22/12

Hybrid goose, part Canada Goose Mallard family, headed by two females Western extreme of Ocracoke, seen from the ferry    

Pink Wood Sorrel        

Pamlico Sound, Carteret and Hyde Counties, NC  5/22/12

Bottlenose Dolphins Royal Tern preparing to dive Brown Pelicans, gulls and Canada Geese on an island near Ocracoke, seen from the ferry    

Cedar Island, Carteret County, NC  5/22/12

Cedar Island is a varied natural environment.  On the immediate north side of the ferry landing is a large shallow cove, which traps dozens of jellyfish at a time near the shore.  Because of the great expanse of this cove, the warm water contributes to an unusually warm environment with little wind in the summer (and probably colder air in the winter). Swallows cluster a little distance inland, on the other side of grassy dunes, while House Sparrows are found everywhere except the shore and squabble over territory.  Mosquitoes abound but few other insects are found. 

House Sparrow Chairmaker's Rush and Beach Pennywort A grassy dune A robber fly  

Red jellyfish White jellyfish Many small jellyfish    

Atlantic Beach, Carteret County, NC  5/21/12

Ruddy Turnstone in breeding plumage Same Ruddy Turnstone Male Sand Fiddler Royal Tern diving

Marsh Rabbit (Sylvilagus palustris) Sand Fiddler Crabs at Hoop Pole Creek Trail Swamp with prominent Live Oak Sanderling  

Sanderling on shells The magnificent sky that evening      

Fort Macon State Park, Carteret County, NC  5/21/12

White Ibises Red Knot Old Ring-billed Gull Grass  

Ambush Bug Tachinid fly      

Third Fork Creek Trail, Durham, NC  5/19/12

Big wolf spider (almost 2 inches long) with spiderlings A better close-up of the spiderlings on the big wolf spider Stink bug (Menecletes insertus) Chloropid fly Common Buckeye  

Common Buckeye Another view of that Common Buckeye Soldier beetle (Trypherus latipennis).  Genus ID thanks to Brad Barnd, species ID thanks to Kelly Fiegle    

Third Fork Creek Trail, Durham, NC  5/18/12

Variable Dancers, maybe, male on the left.  The male prevents the female from mating with other males this way, remaining while she oviposits. Crab spider (Misumessus oblongus).  ID confirmed by Joe Lapp. Little Wood Satyr    

Daring Jumping Spider (Phidippus audax)        

Third Fork Creek Trail, Durham, NC  5/17/12

American Lady Pearl Crescent Megachilid bee on Coreopsis Jumping spider.  The large abdomen is unusual.

Spotted Cucumber Beetle Maybe a very young wolf spider A very young katydid nymph Paper wasp with an egg sac?  

Shield-backed katydid Spotted Cucumber Beetle on a Horse Nettle flower Mating flies Flatfaced longhorn beetle (Cyrtinus pygmaeus), body about 2 mm long

A long-jawed orb weaver, no more than an inch long        

Third Fork Creek Trail, Durham, NC  5/16/12

Squash Bug White Blue-eyed Grass      

Third Fork Creek Trail, Durham, NC  5/14/12

Flower fly Red-spotted Purple Ladybug beetle (Scymnus rubricaudus, Scymnini tribe), about 2 mm long.  Tribe ID thanks to Vassili Belov.  Species ID thanks to Abigail M. Parker.    

Third Fork Creek Trail, Durham, NC  5/12/12

Ladybug Beetle larva        

Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC  5/11/12

Mock Strawberry or Indian Strawberry (Duchesnea indica) Penstemon multiflora Silvery Checkerspot on White Clover Venus' Looking Glass Mourning Cloak

Orchard Spider Little Wood Satyr Male Zabulon Skipper Sundrops Eastern Gray Beardtongue (Penstemon canescens)

Adult female Common Whitetail        

Durham, NC  5/11/12

Three-spotted Horse Fly Antmimic spider (Castaneira longipalpa) Appalachian Brown (dorsal view) Appalachian Brown (ventral view)  

Third Fork Creek Trail, Durham, NC  5/10/12

Flatfaced longhorn beetle (Cyrtinus pygmaeus).  ID thanks to Brad Barnd.        

Flat River Waterfowl Impoundment, Durham County, NC  5/10/12

Black Swallowtail Viceroy Pearl Crescent Variegated Fritillary  

Great Fritillary Moth and billbug on Oxeye Daisy Recent metamorph Eastern Pondhawk Everlasting Pea  

Cabbage White Wild Onion Grass Clover?  

Katydid on a large moth caterpillar Venus' Looking Glass Jumping spider (Phidippus clarus)    

Third Fork Creek Trail, Durham, NC  5/8/12

Golden-backed Snipe Flies Banded Hairstreak Harvester    

Durham, NC  5/7/12

Female march fly Rove beetle      

Durham, NC  5/5/12

Ground beetle, possibly Scarites genus        

Graybeard Trail, Montreat, Buncombe County  5/3/12

Cuckoo bee (Nomada genus) Aphid Indian Tobacco Scorpionfly (Panorpa acuta) Scorpionfly, not Panorpa genus

Swannanoa River Road, Warren Wilson College, Asheville, NC  5/3/12

Putty Root orchid flowers.  The winter leaf was still here, all brown. The winter leaf of another Putty Root orchid which had not bloomed. Tiny scarab beetle Mayapple with small fruit Unidentified wildflower

Dog Hobble Solomon's Seal Summer Azure? Graybeard Penstemon  

Common Yellow Wood Sorrel Toxomerus genus flower fly on Narrowleaf Blue-eyed Grass Field Pansy    

Montreat, Buncombe County, NC  5/3/12

Swallow Juvenile swallow      

Montreat, NC  5/2/12

Preening Mandarin Duck Another view of the Mandarin Duck American Carrion Beetle (Necrophila americana) Spotted Sandpiper at Lake Susan Pink Wood Sorrel

Montreat, Buncombe County, NC  5/1/12

Carolina Hemlock        

Private garden, Asheville, NC  5/1/12

Yellow Lady's Slipper Putty Root Orchid Geraniums Primrose Citrine Forktail

A view of the garden Mystery flower Green Dragon Iris Fire Pink

North Carolina Arboretum, Bumcombe County, NC  5/1/12

White-spotted Sawyer (Monochamus scutellatus), a flat-faced longhorn beetle.  ID thanks to  Vassily Belov.
Lily-of-the-Valley Bowl-and-doily Spider Red Admiral Red-hot Pokers

A Yellowwood (Cladrastis kentukea, a legume family member) tree, the only species in this genus in the US.        

Copyright © 2012 by Dorothy E. Pugh.  All rights reserved.  Please contact for rights to use photos.