spring azure butterflies

We’ve been seeing the odd Spring Azure (Celastrina ladon) around the farm for about a week. However, when I was out walking through the fields this afternoon, I met up with several singles and pairs bouncing and whirling along the trails. It must be true — Spring has actually arrived!

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14 Responses to “spring azure butterflies”

  1. Rexroth's Daughter Says:

    Not until I actually photographed a Ceanothus Silkmoth did I realize how furry and detailed moths are. This one here is just lovely. The color is wonderfully muted, and there is something about their antenna that just makes me smile.

  2. pohanginapete Says:

    Sigh… we won’t be seeing too many butterflies here for a while. We’re heading into autumn and the weather’s letting us know it — various parts of Aotearoa have been flooded over the last few days. Still, it’s nice to have distinct seasons to enjoy. :^)

  3. burning silo Says:

    RD – thanks. I just love to watch these little fellows flying. So small and yet their blue wings stand out against the soft grays and greens of our spring landscape.

    Pete – After having just made it through another winter, I can’t even bear the thought of going into another one! I do agree with you about the seasons though.

  4. Wayne Says:

    Pretty pretty! I do love the flitting azures – the only time you can catch them with a camera is when they’re puddling.

    It’s a lot of fun to see what you’re seeing now. Our azures aren’t exactly gone, but we don’t so much notice them anymore.

  5. burning silo Says:

    Wayne – One of the things which I’m finding quite interesting when reading nature blogs, is being able to compare such things as butterfly emergences, wildflower blooms, bird activity, etc.. in various parts of the country — and even other parts of the world. It seems to me that there is quite a rich resource of phenological information which is contained in all of these blogs.

  6. Wayne Says:

    Bev – you and I have arrived at the same realization, although I haven’t attempted to consolidate the data. Even five years ago it would have been near to impossible to have compared appearances and emergences as spring is sweeping the northern hemisphere (or disappearances and senescence as autumn creeps in). Blogs suddenly allow this to be done, and I suspect without having done it, fairly easily.

    One of the more dramatic examples is how the internet and bloggers are following the migration and appearance of hummingbirds and other birds. It strikes me that this is extremely important in a changing world climate.

    Nice idea and observation!

  7. burning silo Says:

    Wayne – I agree entirely about this seeming to be just the time when it could be very useful for people to be comparing natural history observations – especially if there were a way to compile the data.

    This is actually worth posting on a new thread, so I’m going to write a bit more about this on a new post. Stay tuned.

  8. Wayne Says:

    Bev, I have a vague memory of an English woman who for the last half century or more has taken a long walk each day and noted the flowerings and other encounters she’s made, and made meticulous observations. This has provided an astonishing wealth of information on dates and disappearances of organisms that a lot of ecologists and climate scientists were excited about. I recall this from somewhere in the last year or two.

  9. Wayne Says:

    Oh, and I should say that the reason I found it compelling (and am ashamed to say that I didn’t note it) is that it was such a *swell* case of science being done by a regular, interested person, and not just helicopter scientists with big bucks.

    Science which turned out to be extraordinarily important.

  10. burning silo Says:

    Wayne – The “natural history database” post is up now, so perhaps we’ll get some discussion going on there as well. However, yes, I believe I’ve read of the same woman and I can’t think of her name at the moment either. Perhaps someone reading these notes will come to our rescue. Not long ago, I read the book “A World of Watchers” by Joseph Kastner, which is about the history of bird-watching in North America. He cited several examples of people who quietly went about recording their own observations about birds in their personal journals – and how valuable some of that information has proven to be. I often think of how many nature journals are “out there” – not archived in natural history collections, or worse yet, already discarded by family members who inherited these books and had no idea that they were of any scientific value (shriek!). That was actually part of the purpose of me starting the “other blog” Salamander, which I intended to use for transcribing field notes. Unfortunately, I’ve been dealing with some vexing health problems this spring and have had to reduce some of my activities for awhile until I get back in the loop, so the online notes have temporarily fallen by the wayside. No doubt, I’ll get back to them sometime soon. Anyhow, to continue with what you have mentioned about science being done by “regular, interested persons” and not just by “helicopter scientists with big bucks” – I think this is a very important point. Much of the truly useful information is collected by people who have a very real interest in certain organisms and spend much time observing them and recording info. Some of them go on to make it their “life’s work” even though they don’t have some kind of formal education related to biology. Some of the most knowledgeable naturalists that I’ve met just grew up as curious kids who were lucky enough to have parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles or family friends who helped get them started observing nature. Once again, this is the material for another post, so I’ll leave off here and try to pick up on this again with a new post sometime very soon.

  11. Wayne Says:

    Grandmothers, Bev. I can tell you from experience that grandmothers are ultra important.

    At least mine was. She helped me collect leaves and flowers and helped me identify them. I really worry whether grandmothers in the 21st century will be able to do more than identify the Sex Pistols or B52s. Not that I don’t like the B52s.

  12. burning silo Says:

    My grandmother was also the person who probably sparked my earliest interest in nature. She was a very learned young woman who left the city to marry and raise a large family along the shores of the St. Lawrence River during the 1930s and 40s. She became friends with a native family that spent their summers on a nearby island and, from what I gather, she learned quite a bit about herbalism from them. Unfortunately, she passed on when I was about ten, but for most summers previous to that, we went out for morning walks in summer when she stayed nextdoor to our cottage up on the Ottawa River. She taught me much about plants, insects, birds, mammals and fish. She was a real storehouse of knowledge as she knew everything from catching and cleaning fish, to painting watercolours of wildflowers. It’s difficult to imagine where my own interest in nature would have been if I had not spent so much time with her during those summers. As for today’s grandmothers … yes, if things continue as they are, I can see them knowing more about the Sex Pistols and the B52s! lol.

  13. little grl Says:

    this is one of the most beutiful butterflies i have ever seenits such a good color

  14. Burning Silo » Blog Archive » a million eyes Says:

    […] Earlier this morning, in a discussion of yesterday’s post about Spring Azure butterflies, Wayne (from Niches), and I addressed the topic of all of the natural history data which is being produced on the web — much of it in nature-related blogs such as this one and many of those listed in my Blogroll. Add to that the data that is gradually being amassed by various online natural history websites — for starters, I’m thinking of sites such as BugGuide.Net which allow submission of data on place and date for sightings; and others such as Monarch Watch with its tagging database; and other sites for reporting Hummingbird migrations, etc.. and… well, you get the idea. There is a terrific amount of data being collected, generated, and posted around the net. Some of it is being systematically compiled and made available on websites. Much of it is randomly floating around in cyberspace, waiting to be “found” using search engines. The good thing is that at least this information is finding its way into a medium where it might be of use. The bad thing is that a lot of it isn’t too organized or easy to find — but maybe that will change over time. […]