On Monday, we saw the first Mourning Cloak (butterfly). They’re interesting because they actually overwinter (hibernate) in loose bark on trees. That allows them to be the first – or one of the first – butterflies of spring. They’re probably my favorite butterfly because they are so beautiful, and it was a thrill to see one. We didn’t see a single one last year, and maybe not the year before. They never have been very numerous here, but there were definitely more thirty years ago. The larva feed on a variety of host plants, but it seems that the one that’s most likely in use here is the poplar. I’ve also seen a few Hairstreaks – one Blue, and the others unidentifiable, and a small white butterfly that looked like a Cabbage Butterfly, but rather too small. I haven’t identified that one yet. One of us saw the first Tiger Swallowtail on Wednesday. They’re the dominant butterfly here, in terms of numbers.
Here’s some information on the fascinating and beautiful Mourning Cloak.
We’ve also seen two young – to judge from their size – Red-tailed Hawks performing some mating displays. They’re both very white underneath, but there’s no mistaking the red tail.
I’m expecting the Five-lined Skinks and Fence Lizards to emerge soon, but haven’t seen any as of yet.