Thursday, February 26, 2009

An Unexpected Pleasure

Monday afternoon I had to go out to California City and I thought it would be a good chance to get a few pictures of the Mojave Desert. We had a hearty rain in the morning, and all the colors from the sky to the gravel were clean and crisp. "Landscape with Rabbit Bush and Creosote" is all very well, but a particularly unique feature of the Mojave is the Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia), a very tall member of the Agave family. I came in closer to get a better shot at the lower leaves on the Joshua tree above. . .
. . .and of all things, finally got the chance I have been waiting for (and not expecting in February); a Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)!

I believe some have deemed the Painted Lady a territorial insect (its cousin the Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) is a notoriously fierce creature. . .well, as butterflies go) . At any rate, when I was distracted from the Joshua tree by butterflies. . .there were butterflies. Two of them. For all I really know, it could have been a prospective mating pair trying to impress each other, but they were acting more than coy; they were acting like the Red Admirals I used to watch up at Burnaby Mountain Park. One would fly over an invisible line, the other would come sweeping up to it, looking indignant, and the two would whirl around each other, darting dangerously closer at intervals until the interloper (if interloper it was) had enough. The victor then settled down to enjoy the sun.

2 comments:

Elizabeth in Alaska said...

Molly, I am so excited to have found your blog. I do not update mine nearly enough, but it's there. Loved seeing these pictures of the ol' Mojave...

Molly said...

Elizabeth!! I took a quick look at your blog this morning (I like those the "about subscriber" pages on Facebook--they really do help connect, eh?)but was scrunched for time so I'm hoping to give it a proper reading this evening--*love* those moose pics!