Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Butterflies Galore

Variegated Fritillary
This Saturday will be the second annual Butterfly Open House at Creasey Mahan Nature Preserve, and what a difference a year makes! Last year, Tavia and I chased through a field, trying unsuccessfully to catch some butterflies for the event. The children had better luck, but we still only had a small number. This year, we won't really need to catch butterflies to put in the netted pavilion at all. We can just walk out to two different butterfly gardens, and see dozens of them at once!

Red Spotted Purple

In the cool morning (the first "cool" anything we've had for weeks), I walked down Mahan Lane, the main trail, startled when clouds of butterflies rose around my feet. In delight, I noticed that they were feeding on the wild cherries lying on the ground rotting. Wild cherry is the host plant for the Red Spotted Purple butterfly, and I understand why so many were around.


After taking pictures, I decided to put them into a Flash file for the Creasey Mahan website. Enjoy!

Tawny Emperor
The field guide I used described the Emperors, both Tawny and Hackberry, as "pugnacious," an odd adjective for butterflies, I thought. They aren't afraid of people, and don't hesitate to land on us looking for minerals on our skin. I think they laugh when they tickle us while walking around.

Red Admiral - top

Many butterflies close their wings when they land, so it can be difficult to identify them from the bottoms only, let alone get a good photo. The wing bottoms usually bear little or no resemblance to the tops, and not all field guides give pictures of both.

Red Admiral - bottom Eastern Comma - top Eastern Comma - bottom
Common Buckeye - top
Common Buckeye - bottom
I wonder why there seem to be so many more butterflies this year than previous years. Something about the hot weather? More butterfly gardens? Simply being more aware of them, now that I'm in the nature business? Whatever the reason, they are absolutely gorgeous!

1 comment:

Mary Howell Cromer said...

Great set of Butterflies! I have been taking them feverishly, but no time left to do anything with them yet~