Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Butterflies from Fairview Farm

A couple weeks ago, Patrick tipped me off to a place called Fairview Farm as a good spot for insect observation. This wildlife preserve has mixed woods and fields sown with warm weather grasses and wildflowers, a small pond, and a butterfly garden planted with a variety of flowering plants. These make for great insect habitat, especially for large photogenic insects like butterflies and dragonflies. Below is an example of one of the fields.

The patches of yellow are goldenrod, which just started to bloom last week. Here are some of the 14 species of butterflies I saw at Fairview Farm on Saturday.

The first photo is a female Black Swallowtail. This butterfly is also black, but it is a very worn female Spicebush Swallowtail. The second row of light-colored dots on the Black Swallowtail is one of several subtle differences between the two forms.

There were many skippers present in the fields. I identified 7 species, but there were probably more among them. These Zabulon Skippers looked like they were getting ready to mate. The female kept fluttering her wings as the male maneuvered behind her.

Patrick helped me identify this Little Glassywing.

Least Skippers are tiny, even for skippers, but have a flashy appearance.

The butterfly bushes in the garden attracted many of the large and colorful butterflies, including Eastern Tiger Swallowtail and Great Spangled Fritillary. The most photogenic of the group was this Monarch.