Mariton: Butterfly Walks
by Tim Burris, Preserve Manager. Photos by Carole Mebus.
Our Tuesday Butterfly Walk was good. The milkweed is just starting to bloom. The butterflies that we saw were not staying still, so it was a little frustrating. I am an intermediate butterfly person, and I still have difficulty with several species. These Tuesday Walks are a great way to become familiar with butterflies. Each week there will be some new butterflies as different flowers come into bloom, but there will also be “repeat” butterflies so you can work on learning their characteristics. More blossoms will be open next week, and hopefully we will see butterflies sitting still while they sip on nectar.
Despite their flightiness, Carole was able to capture some great photos. The Squeeze Trail has become good butterfly habitat following Hurricane Sandy. Since this is the route we usually take, we were treated to a variety of butterflies before we ever reached the meadows. The American Lady pictured above was one of the first butterflies we saw as we left the parking lot. It is a beauty whether the wings are open or closed.
Compare this Silver-spotted Skipper (above) to the Hoary Edge (below). The “frosty” appearance of the spot on the Hoary Edge is where it gets its name and distinguishes it from the defined edges of the Silver-spotted Skipper. Once you begin to recognize the bright white spot, the Silver-spotted becomes easy to recognize, even in flight.
The Great-spangled Fritillary is a very common butterfly at Mariton. I think many people see this orange and black butterfly zip by and assume it is a Monarch. The white dots on its underside have an iridescent quality in the right light –thus the name.