Tattered Gulf fritillary

Life has taken a toll on this butterfly as revealed by its tattered and torn up wings.  But regardless of the predators and various environmental challenges it has faced, it is still a beautiful butterfly that has survived to fly another day.

“The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph”.  ~Thomas Paine

An abundance of snakes

While walking around the boardwalk at Reelfoot Lake, we came upon a large number of water snakes that were swirling ferverishly in the water.  We were not sure at the time what we were witnessing, but have since found out that it was a breeding or mating ball.  In the spring, female snakes put off a pheromone scent which attracts males.  The male snakes then track the female, and a breeding ball occurs when there are many males competing over the same female.  In these photos, the female is the largest snake.

And since pictures don’t do the situation justice, here is a short video clip that gives a better idea of what a breeding ball looks like.

“Drama is life with the dull bits cut out.”  ~Alfred Hitchcock

Passing through

Photos taken yesterday evening as a storm system passed through, bringing with it some imposing clouds.  It was impossible not to pause a moment and be amazed.

“We’ve got one short, precious life here on earth.  Let’s not spend it hurrying.  ~Aliza Latta

Migrating Monarchs

So glad to see the Monarch butterflies back in our area after making their spring migration.  They arrived here around the middle to end of April.  These photos were taken on April 28.

“But even if I’m left high and dry at the end of this wild journey, just taking it is a great feeling.”  ~Olivia Wilde

A sea of yellow

Bright-yellow Bulbous Buttercups are in full bloom in the fields and along the roadsides of West Tennessee.  These non-native plants are considered wildflowers by some — and invasive and noxious weeds by others.  Although they add beauty to the landscape, they also  compete with native plant species and are mildly toxic to livestock.

“I’ve learned … that two people can look at the exact same thing and see something totally different.”  ~Unknown

Sandpipers

While driving along the Mississippi levee, in the distance I spotted a small flock of birds that were flying in a formation that looked like a light brown cloud.  They were not ones that I normally see in the area, so I wondered what they were.  Later, as we were driving along a road next to a flooded farm field, we spotted this little flock of birds, which explained what I had seen earlier.  I believe these are Pectoral Sandpipers.  They are common spring migrants in Tennessee from early March to mid-May.

“Live your life as an exclamation rather than an explanation.”  ~Isaac Newton