Monday, April 7, 2008

Eastern Comma First Butterfly of 2008

Last Thursday while I was wondering around the North Mississippi Regional Park looking for the heron rookery I had a pleasant surprise. I started off down the path that runs along the river, like the directions on the MOU list server stated, but I was going the wrong way down the path. I headed north along the river from the interpretive center instead of south. It was not really a bad thing though because sometimes a mistake can turn into blessing in disguise. On this afternoon the sun was warm and it was the first really beautiful day of spring. As I walked I spotted some pied grebe on the river, first of the year, some hooded mergansers, a phoebe, first of the year, and an old brown leaf.
A Brown leaf? Wait a minute that is not a leaf that is actually a eastern comma butterfly and the first butterfly which I have seen in 2008. Don't you just love its camouflage.
Now some of you who live in a warmer climate are probably thinking, "So what" right about now. Well I live in Minnesota, just in case you have not been paying attention, and 3 days before I took these pics we had temps below freezing and blizzard like conditions as we got over 8" of snow. I did not expect to see any butterflies until the end of the month or more likely May but there it was right in front of me. Good thing that I went the wrong way.
The following day, last Friday, I saw my second butterfly of 2008, a mourning cloak, at Wood Lake Nature Center. I followed it for a while but it did not land. Instead it flew up and over the tree line so unfortunately no picture, but spring has just begun so I am sure that I will have more chances. Today the butterfly cage that I ordered came in. It is made of pvc and netting and is about the size of a 38 gallon aquarium. That should give me plenty of room to raise monarchs, black swallowtail and maybe even order some painted lady caterpillars too. My plan is to set up a web cam or two so that I can get pictures of all the different stages since last year they always seemed to hatch from their chrysalis while I had my back turned.


Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

If you don't mind my asking, from where did you order your butterfly cage?

Unknown said...

That would be the same day that I saw my first-of-season butterflies in WI. Didn't get a good look at them, but they were about the right color and shape to be fritillaries. Quite a few bees were out too. Gulls even showed up at the lake today even though its still mostly covered with ice.

Ecobirder said...

Lynne here is the website that I ordered it from. They have all sorts of supplies.
Scott, I am sure that you are just as sick of winter as we are over here in MN. It's cool that you are starting to see butterflies too. I have seen many gnats and a wooly bear caterpiller but no bees yet. I am glad that the insects are returning because it gives me a little more variety to share with my readers.

Peggy said...

Amazing camouflage, and how you ever saw that is VERY lucky...Congrats!

RuthieJ said...

Neat butterfly pics! I'm glad you got out to enjoy a beautiful day.
Looking forward to your upcoming butterfly raising adventures.

Ecobirder said...

Thank Hannibal, I really only found him because I saw him flying. When he landed he sat wings folded for a while like he was checking to make sure that the coast was clear before he opened his wings.

Thanks Ruthie, I am glad that I got out too because the weather this past week has been horrible.

July Lewis said...

Super late to comment...I saw this page when I did an image search for Eastern Comma, but the butterfly is not an Eastern Comma...It is a Compton Tortoiseshell! I don't know about where you live, but where I am (in Rhode Island) that's a much cooler find! Eastern Commas don't have those white spots on them.

Happy butterflying--