Thursday, September 14, 2017

Special Butterfly Sightings of 2017

 Birding is what gets me out walking in the mornings, but I always stop and enjoy the butterflies along the way. I am now familiar enough with the common butterflies to quickly recognize something out of the ordinary.
 It was this Atlantis Flitillary that stopped me in my tracks. I pursued the butterfly doggedly until it landed long enough to get some photos.
 It was August 5 on the bus shelter trail when I saw it. The only other one I have seen was in late Summer at Chance Cove Provincial Park. I think that is an area where this species frequents, not in St. John's which is what makes this butterfly special.
 Unlike the only other one I saw, this Flitillary was in good condition.

 It was a couple of weeks later in August I came upon this Comma-like butterfly in the same area. I had no idea what it was but was pretty sure I had never seen one before.
 Once again, I stayed with it until it landed. Both butterflies gave me a real chase. Once I snapped the pics I knew this was a new butterfly for me.
With the help of Alvan Buckley and Rick Cavasin of the insect discussion group:!forum/nfinsects

 I quickly had answers. This is a Compton Tortoiseshell. I have searched around the internet quite a bit, but could not find any other sightings of this butterfly reported in our province.
Then, there were these caterpillars. Yikes! Drawing from my own frame of reference, when I first saw these distant, strange-colored creatures wrapped around a branch I stopped dead in my tracks.
Honestly, they looked like one small snake. I quickly got a closer look through my binoculars and realized I was safe. There were about 20 caterpillars swarming the tree's branch.
Again, with the help of the discussion group, I have learned these are most likely Mourning Cloak butterflies. Let me assure you, they are much more appealing when they are butterflies.

Note: I will be updating my page dedicated to Butterflies of Newfoundland very soon. I will also create a page to include pics and names of all the butterflies I have seen to make it easier. As the page stands now, one would have to either know the name of the butterfly or go into multiple pages to search for it. I will fix that.

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