Butterflies

I’ve heard from many about a dearth of butterflies this season. While at Audubon for bird banding, I put the long lens on the camera to see who I could find. I was pleased to find several species!

I kept watching to see if this Monarch (Danaus plexippus) would lay some eggs on the swamp milkweed. A closer look leads me to believe it is a male, however…
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A Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele) also visited the Swamp Milkweed, though it never turned around for a proper portrait.
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Over in the grasses and cattails of Spatterdock Pond I found this Little Wood Satyr (Megisto cymela):
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I kept hoping it would pose with its wings open… best I could get was this out-of-focus shot:
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Speaking of out-of-focus shots, this was the best I could get of this Skipper. I tried to key it out using Kaufman’s Field Guide to Butterflies of North America. I think it might be a Little Glassywing (Pompeius verna), but if someone out there wants to dispute it, I’m wide open! I’m only just now starting to try to know the butterflies!
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There was another skipper over in the meadow which I think is a European Skipper (Thymelicus lineola) – only because Kaufman says its larva eat Timothy and other grasses and that’s what I found it on. But again, if you know for sure, please leave a comment! There are SO MANY skippers and most are orange.
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I found I had a better picture of it from last year!
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Speaking of lots of similar orange butterflies, you should take a browse through the Fritillary section of a butterfly guide! The markings on this one look most similar to the Silver-Bordered Fritillary (Boloria selene).
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We saw their caterpillars this spring, and now the adults are emerging everywhere at Audubon. The Baltimore Checkerspot (Euphydryas phaeton) has to be one of the most photograph-able species I’ve seen. They were just sitting – posing, “I’m ready for my closeup.” Even when I had to move away some grasses and leaves to get a clear shot, they just sat there waiting.
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The underside is really pretty, too.  Look at this one playing hide and seek; you can barely see him behind the grass. (Ha!)
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And one last species for the day – a Mourning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa). This one teased me by landing first on my pant leg, then on my shirt. Eventually it flew off to a spot on the other side of the field. I followed and found it clinging upside down.
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7 thoughts on “Butterflies

  1. This is great! So far I have a seen a total of one Monarch BF in the garden this year (in MN). A cold spring and late start to summer may have set us back considerably.

  2. Lovely photos. The only butterflies I’ve seen this year are the cabbage whites laying their eggs on my cabbages!

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