Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Butterfly Transit at Brukner Nature Center, August 9, 2015

None of us will forget this day.  The temperatures were in the eighties (Fahrenheit), the sky was almost clouded over, the humidity was high.  Rain was scheduled for later in the day.  (It never arrived.)  And the mosquitoes were starved for blood.  Tom discovered that if he ran his scooter up and down the drive without stopping, he could usually outrun the pests.  The rest of us were not so lucky even though we were covered with insect repellent.

When Tom and I arrived, Jim and Emily were finding good homes for Monarch caterpillars on the Common Milkweeds beside the sidewalk.  Ruth still has others in jars on her kitchen counter.

Ruth raises Monarch caterpillars that she finds in a field near her home.  The field is always mowed down before the caterpillars finish their cycle.

We didn't see any adult Monarch butterflies on our walk but Ruth found a Monarch egg...

She also found tiny Monarch caterpillars and ...

even Monarch caterpillar poop (frass).

Hackberry emperors were sitting on the parking lot pavement. Tom took this of one with its wings spread wide.  I took the photo of the closed wing Hackberry.

On the Spicebush near the back door of the Interpretive Center, Ruth found an early instar of a Spicebush Butterfly.

There was another brood earlier this year.

We found the most butterflies along the drive where the Wingstem is in bloom.  We were lucky to watch a Summer Azure ovipositing on one of the plants.  Wingstem is a host plant for Summer Azure larvae.

 This is Tom's photo of another of the Summer Azures that we saw.  We counted eight, the most of any species we saw today.

The following photo of a Tiger Swallowtail was taken by Tom, also.  Because of the extensive blue on the hind wings, Ruth identified it as a female.

We saw but did not get photos of Silver-spotted Skippers (3), an Eastern Tailed Blue, an Eastern Comma, and a Pearl Crescent.  Jim took a photo of a skipper which Ruth sent off to the experts to identify.

I was pleased to see this photo that Tom took of a Northern Spring Peeper.  See its roundish toes under its chin?

As usual, I took photos of other interesting finds.

A Robber Fly with his prey, a smaller fly.  Molly, another walker on the transit, identified it for me.

An Ambush bug identified for me by Ruth.  This bug was waiting near the center of a flower.  It will grab other insects, often bigger than itself with its hooked front legs.

This Crab Spider, waiting in ambush, found its lunch.

I always enjoy seeing the pretty insect below.  When I returned home I looked through the insect field guides.  It is a good thing I did.  I thought it was a moth but it is a Net-winged Beetle.

1 comment:

  1. What a great trip to look for Butterflies. We have been lucky with just a few skeeters this year. I am always tempted to collect Monarch Larvae but I never have, I have a cousin that does, and I hope she did this year! :)