Mariton: Hats Off To Butterflies
by Tim Burris, Preserve Manager. Photos by Carole Mebus.
We talked about the Hackberry Emperors last week on our walk. This species often lands on people to lap up the salts in their perspiration. The also like white, so they will also land on people’s white clothing: hats, tshirts, etc. So, this week I started off the walk showing people the Hackberry tree (Celtis occidentalis); the food tree for the caterpillars.
No sooner did we get into the field this week and a Silver-spotted Skipper perched on Anne’s hat. Anne, was standing near a patch of orange Butterfly Weed at the time and we are sure the hat’s color was the attraction. She was a good sport and stood still while people took photos of her interesting head wear.
Carole took this photo that just grabs me. We see lots and lots of Great Spangled Fritillaries at Mariton. I don’t tire of them, but I will pass over them if another species flies by. I am glad Carole didn’t pass by this one. You can see the fragile looking proboscis inserted into a Butterfly Weed blossom.
I have difficulty telling a Hickory Hairstreak from a Banded Hairstreak without consulting Virginia, but I had no trouble identifying this Coral Hairstreak when we spotted it. Isn’t it spectacular? Without binoculars, this small butterfly (dime size) is hard to spot in a field of vegetation, let alone see all its brilliant coloring.
While we didn’t see a large number of butterflies, we did end up seeing a variety of species. This Orange Sulphur really showed off. You can see the orange cast that separates this from the other species of Sulphurs.
The Butterfly Walks are over for the season, but we will be doing the Butterfly Census this Saturday, weather permitting. (It was postponed last week due to weather.)