butterfly’s last hurrah?

Butterfly’s last hurrah? I hope not. At least, not for awhile. However, it’s hard to forget that, relatively speaking, it won’t be that long until there’s snow on the ground. Brrrrrh!

I photographed this male Clouded Sulphur (Colias philodice)… or, at least, that’s what it looks like to me, last week. Since then, I’ve seen a few Monarchs and Sulphurs flying through the gardens since, but they’re definitely on the decline. My daily walks in search of insects net a dwindling number, apart from the ground and tree crickets and grasshoppers trilling and chirping in every direction. I haven’t been spending as much time as I’d like out in the fields and woods. Instead, I’ve been doing some exterior painting and house repairs — the kind that that’s expected when your house is about 30 years old. I work best in the cooler weeks of September and October… perhaps because I feel the season’s clock ticking away. Before you know it, it’ll be time to bring the bird bath in for the winter!

Today, there’s a batch of new fascia boards to paint in preparation to replace the old ones on the studio building. While they’re drying, I’ll move on to replacing a few worn out 2×6’s in the front porch decking. Well, back to work!

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13 Responses to “butterfly’s last hurrah?”

  1. robin andrea Says:

    I’ve noticed a marked decline in butterflies too. No more Lorquin or Red admirals to be seen at all. I am seeing a lot of spiders though, and the asters are attracting lots and lots of different bees and bee-imitating flies.

    When you pull those fascia boards and decking off, you might see a few insects. I hope you’ll have your camera ready!

  2. DougT Says:

    That’s really an amazing picture. Clouded sulphurs almost never land with their wings open. Quite the catch!

  3. bev Says:

    robin – Yes, I’ll definitely have to watch for insects. Years ago, when I took the old porch off the house, I found some of the strangest creatures imaginable!

    Doug – I believe that’s probably the first time that I’ve ever photographed a Clouded Sulphur with its wings in that position. It was a windy afternoon and I noticed it fluttering from plant to plant in the back garden. When it rested, it would go down into the foliage and cling to something while holding its wings open. Guess it was just luck to be there at the right place, right time.

  4. Ontario Wanderer Says:

    I tried for about a quarter hour to get a sulphur with it’s wings open. No luck.

    Re houses, I was reminded of a woman I met in England who complained that her insureace company was upset that she could not tell them how old her house was. She knew that it was at least 640 years old from some documents that she had but was not sure “exactly” how old the house was.

  5. cloudscome Says:

    Wow that’s a great butterfly shot. I have noticed fewer butterflies than I expected too – especially monarchs. We didn’t get the traffic we normally get. I wonder why?

  6. bev Says:

    OW – Maybe try on a windy day, although I know there are very flighty little butterflies. Great story about the old house — makes my 30 year old place seem like it’s just a youngster!

    cloudscome – We’ve had quite a few Monarchs around, but I’d say that things are konking out very quickly this autumn. The weather has been etremely dry and the temperatures keep fluctuation so much — one day will be very hot, but then that night, the temp will drop off to just above freezing. I noticed that the Sensitive Fern in the woodlot looks like it was melted down by frost, but that may be from dryness. It happened while we were in Nova Scotia, so I’m not sure of the cause. Anyhow, weather and dryness do seem to have an impact of butterflies.

  7. Marcia Bonta Says:

    I think your monarchs have reached PA. Our 30-acre field of goldenrod and asters is filled with monarchs and they flutter from the trees at the edge of the field every morning. One hawk watch in eastern PA recorded 7000 monarchs the other day. It’s the best monarch migration I can remember in many years.

  8. Dave Says:

    I’ve never noticed that tuft of purple before. Great shot!

  9. bev Says:

    Marcia – It seems that must be so! We haven’t seen quite so many for the last few days after seeing many when we first returned from Nova Scotia at the beginning of September.

    Dave – I don’t think I really noticed the purple until you mentioned it. I decided to check a couple of other photos I’ve taken of Clouded Sulphurs to see if they had purple on them. It looks like they probably had pinkish or purple tufted on the head area. Photos are here and here.

  10. DougT Says:

    Interesting explanation for the butterfly’s pose. I wish that would happen around here at the moment. The fen is experiencing an unusual influx of dogface butterflies this year. That would be cool to get a photo of the upper side of.

  11. sbgypsy Says:

    Wow, what a beauty! I still have alot of bees and bumblebees concentrating on my fall flowers.

  12. Dave Says:

    Shucks. I hope there’s still a hurrah or two left in the season!

  13. bev Says:

    Doug – I’ve found that, if you can find them, butterflies and moths are often easy to photograph when they’re taking shelter from the wind. However, it’s usually not that easy to find them. I just happened to see this one diving down into the tall grasses.

    gypsy — Hi! Yes, it is a beauty. One of those small butterflies that we really don’t seem to take a close look at. We still have some bees around here, but things have been a little quieter than I was expecting for this date. However, it’s supposed to be quite warm for the rest of the wee, so perhaps the insects will become active again.

    Dave – Well, I’m hoping that’s the case too!

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