Zigzag Herpetogramma

Zigzag Herpetogramma

Monday, 11 February 2019

Out-of-season Winged Wonders

I thought it might be a nice diversion from the ongoing snow, cold, freezing rain etc., to look at some fairer weather winged critters. It will still be a few weeks, even months, before we are likely to see any of the following in real life. Hopefully they are as anxious to emerge from their pupa, or from behind the bark of a tree as an adult, as I am to see them! The following images show some of the diversity of butterflies I've shot this past year.

A couple of the earliest ones we might expect to see are these first two.
Mourning Cloak
Eastern Comma
Some of the most common, even abundant, ones throughout the year are these next ones.
Cabbage Whites
Clouded Sulphur
Clouded Sulphur
In the municipal park behind our place, there is a community garden. We've been able to plant one of the plots into a pollinator patch, featuring about a dozen native prairie plant species. They do wonders at attracting all sorts of pollinator types, which of course helps the organic garden. And between it and our own yard, so far I've seen more than 30 species of butterfly.
Common Checkered Skipper

Common Sootywing
Eastern Tailed Blue
Wild Indigo Duskywing
Giant Swallowtail
Least Skipper

Painted Lady
Pearl Crescent
Peck's Skipper
Question Mark
Red Admiral
One of the great spots for butterflies not too far away has been the Reid Conservation Area, in Lambton County a bit north of Wallaceburg. It is worth checking out especially for one of the more unusual and very restricted butterfly species in Ontario, the Oak Hairstreak.
While I was at Reid on the hunt for the Oak Hairstreak, this Gray Comma came by and alighted on my equipment. The two photos were taken less than a minute and a half apart. I think the Gray Comma was attracted to some of the salt sweat
There are other goodies there as well, including these next two, found in the shaded sedge vegetation of the adjacent woods.
Duke's Skipper
Duke's Skipper
Dun Skipper
 Skippers are notoriously small and very subject to speedy and erratic flight. Those at the larger end of the scale are sometimes a lot easier to photograph.
 While I was photographing this Giant Swallowtail, above, another lepidopteran species came by. It is not a butterfly, but a moth, and looks like a hummingbird. Not surprisingly, its name is Hummingbird Clearwing, It is a member of the Sphinx Moth family.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
Bronze Copper
Bronze Copper
Summer Azure
One species that eluded me in 2018 was this next one, Fiery Skipper. Most years I come across a few in the late summer and early fall, but not this time.
Fiery Skipper
I try and get most of my butterfly observations, particularly any of the more significant ones, on eButterfly. I've also entered some on BAMONA, the database of the Butterflies and Moths of North America, as well as BugGuide. I haven't entered any on iNaturalist yet.....there are just too many databases around, but that may be the subject of a future rant post!


  1. They are so beautiful, and add another dimension to life in any place and garden. Sadly we see so few about now-a-days.

    1. You are absolutely right, Paula. Watching them is so delightful. Sorry you don't get to see as many as you would like in your part of the world.