1, 2, 3, Little Butterflies

Little Glassy Wing

As mentioned in an earlier post, I spent Sunday outside with a very pleasant group of people completing a butterfly count.  A butterfly count is very similar to … a Christmas bird count, where participants go out and try to inventory the species and numbers of butterflies within a set geographic range.  This group hit about 5 spots in Redding, CT (our count area). 

The difference from say a bird count is that these butterfly people are much more strict!  Counting can go in only one direction at an area (like a field) so that there isn’t any doubling of numbers and the counters pretty much need to stick together.  Another difference???  At bird counts shouting out of species and numbers is generally not ideal since it can scare away the birds.  Butterflies don’t hear so well, lacking ears, and so the day was filled with a chorus of counters yelling out their finds and numbers.

3 European Skippers, 2 Great Spangled Frittilaries, 5 Cabbage Whites.  The only thing more dreamy than their names are the insects themselves.  Below is an assortment of photos I took from the day.  Since my ID skills are not all that good I decided taking pictures would be a better use of my time.  It was my first time using this borrowed lens, so these are definitely practice images.  But with critters so beautiful, even a bad picture is still a good one.

Silver Spotted Skipper

Least Skipper

Eastern Tailed Blue
Great Spangled Fritillary

Pipevine Swallowtail Larvae

Just too cute

At the end of May I spent a week driving and birding in the San Francisco Bay area.  What type of wildlife is the area known for even more than the birds…  marine mammals of course!  My list included Sea Otters, Harbour Seals, California Sea Lions, and….

Elephant Seals!  This is a juvie waiting to get a bit bigger before heading out into the shark infested waters.

The Start of Another List

For the past 2ish years I have been birding.  I suddenly decided after taking a 10 year hiatus from the hobby, I would start again and take my coworker down with me.  In all honesty she (Sue) is a good birder and has been for some time.  I just started forcing her to spend her break times with me teaching me how to bird again. 

Now 2 years later I would say I’m doing a fairly good job at it.  I feel confident in most of my ID’s and if I don’t, I feel confident enough to admit that and not make something up.  I’ve even started studying (a scary concept for someone who never did it in school) and have started to learn birds and calls before I’ve ever even seen the bird.  It’s especially gratifying to be able to make an ID on a life bird.  ID stands for identification by the way. 

Oh right back on subject.  After going out on a butterfly count this past weekend (I’m worse at ID’ing butterflies than I ever was at ID’ing birds), I have decided to now start a butterfly list for work as well.  Day one and we have 2 species on the list.  Cabbage White (Pieris rapae) an introduced species from Europe and Eastern Tailed Blue (latin to come). 

And now, I’m heading outside with my binoculars to see if I can add to the lists.  See you all in the field!