I know it sounds like this should be a blog about flowers, but it’s not. It’s about butterflies. This week has brought an onslaught of butterflies moving across Yale West Campus. The listserv has been alive with reports of bird watchers on the shore amazed at the number of ‘angelwing’ butterlies moving onshore. On campus we are just over 1 mile away from the West Haven beach (as the crow or butterfly flies) and the butterflies are moving North.
Thanks to a great book called the Connecticut Butterfly Atlas I have recently discovered that a couple of butterflies in the ‘angelwing’ group don’t overwinter in CT but actually move north in the spring. With the amazingly warm weather this week it seems like this has begun.
The cabbage white butteflies have been around on campus since March 8th (the first sighting of the year). A few of weeks after that we had sulphur butterflies and on April 4th we had our first skipper of the year, Juvenal’s duskywing.
I finally grabbed my camera today and got a couple pictures of some of the butterflies moving through campus. Most of the time they are not stopping but just heading straight through making it difficult to photograph. But I managed to find a little patch of flowers that slowed a couple down.
Three species have been seen this week to add to our list. Eastern comma, red admiral, Eastern tiger swallowtail and question mark butterflies have all been seen on campus and are all first of the year. The first two listed are actually new to our total list that we started midsummer last year. It’s a fun time to be outside!