Butterflies are free

It’s been a while since I posted anything new here – I’ve been working my tail off on my new Etsy shop, http://www.etsy.com/shop/SpringAzurePhotos – but I just had to post some of the butterflies I spotted today at Nasketucket Bay State Reservation.

I hadn’t even gotten out of the car when Ulysse spotted a Red-spotted Purple in the parking lot. I’ve only ever seen them in Dartmouth; I’m hoping they get a foothold at Nasketucket.

Red-spotted Purple ButterflyRed-spotted Purple Butterfly

Viceroys are becoming a common sight at Nasketucket, which must mean they’re getting to be well-established there. There is a lot of birch for them to feed on.


This is the best picture I’ve gotten to date of a Viceroy. I think they must have all just hatched; their colors were beautiful.

And then there were these guys. I looked them up and believe they are Mourning Cloak butterfly caterpillars.

Mourning Cloak caterpillars

I took one home to raise and see what it becomes. I had to go fetch him some willow leaves at the park, and then set him up in a tank with them. I managed to drop him in the tank, where he just lay in a puddle, and I thought he was a-gonner, but then I managed to get him onto a spoon and really look at him, I realized the poor guy was just trying to molt his skin when I half-drowned him. He seems much better now.

After all that walking, I had to go to A.C. Moore, and damned if I didn’t spot a black swallowtail feeding on some clover right next to the parking lot! By then my feet were killing me, but I had to at least try to get a few shots of him since he was right there. (A strong breeze did not help matters.)

Black swallowtail


Faded Ladies

I decided to go to Allen’s Pond yesterday, even though I’d been the day before, and I am so glad I did because I saw so much! In addition to the colors, which I just cannot get enough of, I saw all kinds of butterflies – sulphurs, cabbage whites, monarchs, a red admiral, a buckeye, and painted ladies – and sparrow-size sandpipers and a sea gull with a crab.

EgretSandpiper flyingSandpiperSandpiperSea gull with crabWildflowers and sulphurMonarchPainted LadyWildflowers

What’s interesting to me is that I believe these two are both painted ladies, and yet the one is so faded and the other is so bright, it’s like they’re two different butterflies!

Painted ladyPainted lady abstract