Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Day of Butterflies

Four of our five Black Swallowtail butterflies have hatched, migrated outside, eventually into the air, and away... One came last night, three hatched rapidly this morning. Above pictures of them still indoors. The last image is that of an empty husk with but a faintly perceptible slit through which these winged creatures first force themselves into the daylight. One of them, sure enough injured a wing—and gave us some worries for a while.

The migration continued outdoors. The one on the concrete was the first out, last night, and spent his night under a stool in a great down-pour. This morning it was time to dry up. Once dry, they all proceeded to take little trial flights--first to the top of flowers, then to the fenced tomatoe yard, finally into the heights. The last photo shows our last Swallowtail, indeed the one with the injured wing, way up high on a leaf. He rested there for some hours and eventually also flew away.

So does this mean that our butterflies days are over for the year—aside from the last, the fifth, still in chrysalis and a couple more weeks to go? By no means. Around 10 in the morning came a NEW KIND. It stayed for several hours feasting on the blue flowers of our basil plants. Heavy research soon yielded its name. It was a Junonea coenia, better known as a Buckeye—and in the politically insensitive word of nomenclature, sometimes rendered as the Common Buckeye. Not common for us, let me tell you! So long did that Buckeye linger here, we wonder if another campaign may be in the offing. We already know that Buckeye’s caterpillars are very, very black. We shall be inspecting the basil plants daily soon, on the lookout. Herewith some views of this first-time visitor:

We’ve had to use small pictures here to show a good many, hence detail is not immediately visible. But clicking on the images will enlarge them very nicely.

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