Back on the trail, at the Old Cedar Bridge, I spotted a few butterflies near the small pond that frequently overflows over path.
I managed to get a couple of pics of this hackberry emperor.
Hackberry emperors are fairly common in the eastern and southern US as well as Mexico. They are frequently found around hackberry trees, which are the larval food plant, and often perch in the trees or on other objects that are high off of the ground. Like other types of emperor butterflies, hackberry emperor adults prefer to eat sap and rotting fruit over blooming flowers.
Male hackberry emperors are very territorial and the hackberry above made several attempts to drive away an eastern comma, shown above, that was in its territory. The eastern comma are the first butterfly that we typically see in the spring. These woodland butterflies hibernate, as adults, over the winter, usually using cracks in trees or buildings or hollow logs. With their wings folded they look like fall leaves which helps to camouflage them from predators.