Prothonotary Warbler

Prothonotary Warbler

Thursday, 23 February 2017

February butterflies!

I don't know that I have ever had butterflies flying about in February, but then I don't remember a February quite like this!

Some butterflies overwinter as adults instead of larvae or pupae, so when the warmth arrives, they are out and about early. With the abnormally high temperatures these last few days, I figured it would likely get some butterflies out. Yesterday, Marie and I went to Rondeau since it was ~15C here at home. I knew it would be cooler by the lake, but I didn't expect the fog. So with temperatures not getting above about 7C and heavy fog, of course butterflies were not out. We got some exercise, did a little photography and visited with friends instead, so it was still a successful outing.

Today I decided to start off inland, and went to the municipally owned McKerrall Woodlot a few kilometres NE of Chatham.
As expected, it looked like mid-winter, minus the snow. But in the shelter of the woods and out of the wind, the sun made it suitable for butterflies. The temperature out in the open reached about 17C, perhaps a bit more in the micro-climate. I saw my first Eastern Comma of the year! The following photo wasn't one I took today, as the critter I saw did not want to settle down long enough for me.

After leaving McKerrall Woods, I meandered around Chatham-Kent looking for some open grown trees to photograph for a project I am working on. More on that perhaps in another post. I eventually ended up back at Rondeau, since as I got closer it was clear that fog wasn't going to be an issue today. The temperature was still cooler than inland, as it was still only about 8C at the park entrance due to the wind off of the now ice-free bay. But at the more sheltered eastern side of the park, it was warmer, reaching at least 14C at times. A walk along parts of the South Point Trail and Harrison Trail only produced one more Eastern Comma, and it was flying steadily northwards. I never did see it land....hence no photos of this one either.

Earlier in February Marie noticed something under a window at home.
It is the pupa of a Cabbage White butterfly. We grow a lot of veggies in our garden out the back that these butterflies really like. We were still getting things like kale from the garden into mid-December. Marie is careful about picking off the caterpillars before bringing them in the house, but this one must have been missed, so it escaped and found a suitable place to spend the winter in its next stage!

I really don't expect to see too many more butterflies flying about until at least the end of March or into April. At least hopefully we won't have that kind of weather until then....when spring comes super early, it is bound to create havoc with the plants and wildlife.


2 comments:

  1. Things sure are out of whack this year! Lots of record early and high number sightings for this time of year.
    Perhaps we will be in for a cold spring!

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    Replies
    1. Out of whack indeed.....I don't think you will see many leps out on your weekend forays. We've had snow in late April and even in May before, but hopefully that won't be the case this year.

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