Sunday, August 2, 2009

Butterflies

During the summer, when the birding gets a little slow, I have turned to photographing other parts of nature. At the beginning of last September I found quite a few interesting butterflies to photograph. Even though the least skipper is pretty common in North America many people over look it due to its small size.
Even though the Cabbage White butterfly is a common sight around woods, roadsides, farms, gardens and yards it is actually not native to North America. They originally came from Europe and were accidentally released into Canada back in the 1860s.
It is easy to distinguish between the male and female cabbage white by the number of spots on the forewing. If the butterfly has one spot, such as the first picture, then it is male but if it has two on the forewing, as shown above, then it is a female..
The eastern-tailed blue is another small butterfly that can be found through out most of the eastern part of North America, from the eastern coast of Canada and The US west to North Dakota, Colorado and central Texas, as well as parts of Mexico and the West Coast.
The eastern-tailed blue is a member of the Gossamer-wing family of butterflies and can be identified by the long hair like tail on the hindwing for which it gets its name. The only other blue butterfly with a tail is its cousin the western-tailed blue which is a bit larger and lacks orange spots at the base of the hind wing.

Eastern-tailed blue butterflies have a number of different types of host plants. Since their proboscis, or feeding tube, is not very long they look for short tubed flowers or ones that are open. Favorites include white clover, white sweet clover, shepherd's needle, wild strawberry, flea-bane. asters, winter cress and others. In the picture above two eastern tail blue are using their proboscis to drink nectar from a birds-foot trefoil flower.

11 comments:

Adrienne in Ohio said...

These are great shots! Do you have a field guide you recommend for skipper identification?

Carletta said...

Excellent shots!
Appreciate the time you took for the ID info.

Jama said...

Beautiful macros!

Martha Z said...

Great captures, when I try to get butterflys they are gone befor I can focus

Greyscale Territory said...

A fascinating post! Enjoyed the macros and the information!

mitt vattenhål said...

Same talent other spieces :-)
Great closeups

The Early Birder said...

Interesting to see so many species that we are also watching on the other side of the Atlantic.

Reader Wil said...

I envy you for seeing so many butterflies! We have a lot of wasps but no butterflies! Your photos are great.

Sarah said...

Oh beautiful shots!! I just can't seem to catch one sitting still this season - wonderful to see all of yours!! Sarah

Tammie Lee said...

This is a lovely series of flitting critters!

Spirithelpers

Matt Latham said...

Great stuff! I adopt exactly the same approach when my love of bird photography becomes a macro obsession in the summer months.