|Northern Spring Azure|
Farther up in the woods, Juvenal's, Sleepy, and Wild Indigo Duskywings were chasing each other up and down the clearings, making photography of these individuals extremely difficult. These territorial butterflies seemed to be chasing everything, whether it was another butterfly, a bee, or even nothing at all. In the woods, I found several Mourning Cloaks and my first Spicebush Swallowtails of the year. These dark swallowtails are the earliest individuals of a species that will stick around until the fall! Later, I found my first Black Swallowtail of the year visiting the daffodils along the edge of the house.
While watching the larger butterflies, I almost forgot to look down until I noticed a tiny, dark skipper flying through the dried bluestem grass. This little Common Roadside-Skipper finally landed for a second before continuing to flutter along. Despite the name, this species is quite unusual, especially this early in the year. In fact, this is the earliest date I have ever seen a skipper of any kind here in Monroe County, PA!
|The tall, skinny, dark green trees are the redcedars. The tall one in front is where I spotted the hairstreak.|
Last July, I led a butterfly walk at Jacobsburg State Park. With ideal habitat at the park, the group was able to see eight of these gorgeous butterflies. These July-flying individuals were actually part of a second brood that emerges during the summer, whereas the current brood likely emerged within the last week.
|A close-up of a Juniper Hairstreak from Jacobsburg State Park (July 2011)|
My last butterfly of the day was a Red Admiral that was flying low over the trees, apparently headed north. Interestingly, this migratory species seemed to be following the same path, except backwards, that the Monarchs take in the fall. Although I only saw one, some locations in western Pennsylvania saw hundreds of Red Admirals migrating north!