Mariton: Butterfly Season

June 7, 2011

The Tuesday Butterfly Walks began this morning, and we saw about ten species of butterflies.  That is a great number for this early in the season.  The milkweeds aren’t open yet, and there are limited flowers producing nectar in the meadows, so we were surprised by how much we saw.  The most common butterfly was the Little Wood Satyr (Megisto cymela).  Everywhere we walked there were 3 – 4 flying about, especially along the trails bordering the woods.

One of the interesting species was the Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus), which is a tiny butterfly with beautiful markings.  This specimen is missing a part of its forewing.

The Spring Azure (Celastrina ladon) is another small butterfly worth checking out with a pair of binoculars.  There is a lot of variation in how blue these butterflies are, but the markings on this individual are really nice.

We saw Silver-spotted Skippers, Hoary Edges, Northern Cloudywings, Eastern Tiger Swallowtails, Spicebush Swallowtails, Great Spangled Fritillaries, and Question Marks.  This is a really bright looking Monarch (Danus plexippus) on a milkweed that is just about to open.  Another week and we should add more species and more activity.  (All photos by Carole Mebus.)