Saturday, October 10, 2009

Recent Butterflies

Earlier in the week, I posted some pictures of Monarch butterflies that I saw around Cape May. Most of those photos were shot at Hereford Lighthouse in  North Wildwood. The lighthouse is surrounded by sun and shade gardens. It is an interesting place to visit if you are in the area. In addition to the lighthouse and gardens, there nearby seawall offers views of Hereford Inlet and some of the local bird life.

At this time of year, the garden's flowers are a magnet for migrating Monarchs. While the butterfly diversity has reduced considerably since midsummer, some other species are still flying. Here are two that I saw frequently at Cape May and photographed at the lighthouse garden.

First is a Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui). Like Monarchs, Painted Ladies are migratory, but unlike Monarchs they only migrate northward from their base population in Mexico. Many of these were flying around Cape May, though not in the same numbers as Monarchs. This one has a piece missing from its right forewing. It must have had a narrow escape at some point.

Second is a skipper. I am pretty sure this is a Sachem (Atalopedes campestris), but some of its field marks are obscured in this photo, and the mix of shadow and light does not help. Sachem is a common species, and I have seen many in the past few weeks around my neighborhood.