Thursday, September 18, 2014

Brukner Nature Center Butterfly Transit for September 14, 2014

As I drove to Brukner, I wondered if we would see any Monarchs (Danaus plexippus).  Monarchs are a beautiful showy butterfly.  If a person recognizes just one butterfly it is mostly likely the Monarch.  Children learn about them in school.  Nature programs on public television often feature them.  Books are written about them.

As I drove I saw two Monarchs flying.  One almost killed itself on my windshield.  The other was flying over a field.

The sky was beautiful, blue with puffy cumulus clouds.  The sun was shining and the air was comfortably warm on our skin when we started.  At the front door to the nature center, six Painted Ladies got our butterfly transit walk off to a good start.

Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) Wingspan: 1.75-2.40 inches (4.4-6.1 cm)

Because the temperature was hovering around 70 degrees Fahrenheit which is barely warm enough for butterflies to fly, they are flying slowly compared to what they can fly because they are cold-blooded like all insects.  As the air temperature warms, the butterflies move faster.  I was able to get a photo with my snapshot camera, too.


We saw at least one Painted Lady as we walked around the outer edge of the amphitheater as well as a Leopard Frog.  There were Cabbage Whites flying about and dragonflies.  Below is one of the smaller dragonflies.


We saw a few more Painted Ladies in the meadow and also blue butterflies, Summer Azures and Eastern Tailed-Blues.  Here is one of the Eastern Tailed Blues.

Eastern Tailed-Blue (Everes comyntas) Wingspan: 0.75-1.0 inches (1.9-2.5 cm)

We saw Pearl Crescents in the meadow, also.

We saw our first Silver-Spotted Skipper along the Brukner drive...and more Painted Ladies.

Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus) Wingspan: 1.75-2.40 inches (4.4-6.1 cm)

The Sulphurs were moving fast among the flowers and out into the cornfield beyond the fence but Phil but not so fast that Phil couldn't get this photo.

Sulphur (Family/Subfamily: Whites and Sulphur (Pierridael/Sulphurs (Coliadinae)

We were headed back toward the center when Phil spotted this butterfly.  It seemed large for a Pearl Crescent but the pattern seemed right.  I checked out the fritillaries and didn't find one that looked like this one.


By the time we finished our walk we had seen thirty-four or five individual butterflies so we considered the day a good one.  But we didn't find a Monarch this week.  Maybe next week.

No comments: