Saturday, September 5, 2015

Butterfly Transit at Brukner Nature Center, August 29, 2015

The day was hot.  There was a threat of a pop-up thunderstorm.  The mosquitoes were plentiful although there were fewer than a few weeks ago.

The Monarchs are showing up.  We counted four.

Monarch (Danaus plexippus)  Wingspan: 3.5-4.0 inches (8.9-10.2 cm)

We were excited to see an American Snout butterfly.  This is only the second one we have seen in our three years of walking the transit.

American Snout (Libytheana carinenta)  Wingspan: 1.6-1.9 inches (4.1-4.8 cm)

This is another photo of the same butterfly.  I like the picture because Jim also caught a Ailanthus Webworm Moth in the same picture.  The Ailanthus larvae make communal webs on the leaves of  Ailanthus Trees.  Isn't the moth pretty?

American Snout with Ailanthus Moth (Atteva punctella)

We found four Silver-spotted Skippers.  This one was posed exactly right to get a frontal pose.

Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus)

Ruth identified this Wild Indigo Duskywing.  Duskywings are a group of dark butterflies. It is hard to tell one from another.

Wild Indigo Duskywing (Erynnis baptisiae)  Wingspan: (1.3-1.7 inches (3.3-4.3 cm)

We saw a Painted Lady on Wingstem..  I think this is the first Painted Lady we have seen this summer.  Last year we saw numerous Painted Ladies so we should be seeing more on future walks.

On the same plant was a Monarch.  If you look closely, you will see there are also two bees on the plant.


Upper butterfly: Monarch (Danaus plexippus) Wingspan: 3.5-4.0 inches (8.9-10.2 cm)
Lower butterly: Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) Wingspan: 1.75-2.40 inches (4.4-6.1 cm)
Plant: Wingstem (Verbesina alternifolia)

The most exciting find of the day was a Viceroy Butterfly along the drive.  This was a first sighting ever on the transit.

Viceroy (Limenitis archippus)  Wingspan: 2.6-3.2 inches (6.6-8.1 cm)

Viceroy

Here is a Monarch photo taken by Tom earlier this year.  The difference between the two butterflies is easily seen by looking at the hind wings.  The Monarch has an irregular stained glass pattern.  The Viceroy has a noticeable black line across the middle of each hind wing.

Monarch (Danaus plexippus) Wingspan: 3.5-4.0 inches (8.9-10.2 cm)

As we were getting into our vehicles, the promised pop-up storm arrived with strong winds and splats of rain on the windshields.  Perfect timing  as far as we were concerned.

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