I went to Medora Prairie this morning, and did what I do–wandered around with a camera trying to find butterflies. And I found some.
One of the first butterflies I saw was this coral hairstreak. It was a first-of-the year of this species for me, although coral hairstreaks are nearing the end of their annual flight period.
This was a gray hairstreak. Unlike the coral hairstreaks, these will be around all summer long–they have multiple generations each year.
Common wood nymphs were extremely abundant on the prairie, but they are difficult to photograph. They typically land on the ground and it is difficult to get an unobstructed view of them. The wood nymphs in the prairie look pretty much completely black in the bright sun.
This common wood nymph was in the poison ivy in the bushes along the trail. The lighter gray or brown wood nymphs can be found throughout Iowa but I seldom see them in the prairie. I wonder if there are two subspecies of these butterflies, but the sources I have do not seem to mention that as a possibility.
The star of the show is the regal fritillary. It can be frustrating to watch them fly by without landing, which they do a lot. Today I got lucky and had one land on some butterfly milkweed close by, then spent some time. I was able to get several close up shots of the same butterfly.
This is what the place looks like. There are several rolling hills with prairie plants. Sort of a magical place.
But it is pretty hot on the prairie. I brought a chair and sat in the shade for quite some time with a cool drink. The only sound of “civilization” I heard was a gas engine revving up off in the distance. It could have been a chain saw, but it sounded more like a weed-whacker to me.