Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Giant Swallowtail

Giant swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes) on Bottlebrush buckeye (Aesculus parviflora)
We have noted the bottlebrush buckeyes (Aesculus parviflora) previously, but have never posted about this frequent visitor to them, the giant swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes). This largest of Illinois butterflies (4 to 6 inch wingspan) goes through two generations in Illinois and then overwinters as a chrysalis. They feed on a variety of vegetation found at Habitat Home, including these bottlebrush buckeyes, milkweed, clover, and phlox. They are a beautiful sight as they make their "hopping" flight way across the yard. Note: the photo above is one of those that is worth clicking on to open up a higher resolution version to ponder in more detail; for example, it looks like the butterfly's proboscis has passed behind or right through the flower.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Apple Trees

We have three standard apple trees on our property. Like the cicadas (see previous post) the apples are unusual this year. This is the first year that we have apples on all three trees. The trees were planted in 1993. Previously, all have born fruit but not all in the same year.

Since all the trees are producing fruit this year I may just have an opportunity to harvest some apples this year. There may be enough for the deer, raccoons, squirrels, birds, possums, skunks and us!