e_moon60 (e_moon60) wrote,

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Sunny afternoon after storms: butterflies

Yesterday afternoon when the sun came out, we went out on the land.  Butterflies, dragonflies, birds, and other critters also thought it was a good time to come out after huddling in the storms overnight. 

In the southwest meadow, the dogbane was blooming.  This is an attractive plant, with reddish stems, smooth green leaves, and clusters of very white flowers.  Against this background, butterflies swarmed over the flowers, a constant fluttering mass of them.  Most numerous were the Red Admirals, and most of those were fresh, not worn or ragged at all.     Although I've photographed Red Admirals before, I've never seen the bright blue scales at the rear of the hindwing before--those are the first to go when a butterfly gets nipped by a bird.

Some flower clusters had more than one butterfly, though usually one would object and drive the other away.
  This is a fresh Common Buckeye (with the orange epaulet stripes and the eyes) and a Red Admiral with its wings closed, showing the striking markeings of the underside.    Besides the Red Admiral and Buckeye butterflies,  there were lots of American Lady, Variegated Fritillary, and Hackberry Emperor butterflies, plus some little Gray Hairstreaks.  

In addition to butterflies plundering the dogbane,  at least three species of Sulphurs (Dainty, Orange, and one I'm not sure of) nectared on other flowers.   Pipevine Swallowtails were on Japanese honeysuckle; Giant Swallowtails, Monarchs, and Mourning Cloaks flitted through the meadow every minute or so.   I don't know what the various checkers and crescents were nectaring on (never saw them still) but they were also flying past.  An excellent day to enjoy the butterflies.  I was hoping to go out again today, but against the original forecast, it's cloudy and drizzly, not clear and sunny.
Tags: butterflies, lepidoptera, wildlife

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