In Iowa, Thinking about the Texas Butterfly Festival…

Wednesday it rained most of the day, so I spent most of it looking at my photos from the Texas Butterfly Festival and trying to identify what I had. Yesterday was sunny with a chilly wind. Today it is snowing. I think we will only get a light dusting and it is not expected to stick around long, but you never know for sure.

Yesterday I did a two hour volunteer stint at the butterfly wing of Reiman Gardens in Ames. Since the sun was out the butterflies were active. The crowd visiting the butterfly wing was fairly light, but I enjoyed seeing them. With many of the visitors you can see that they are physically more relaxed after spending some time in the wing. I am sure it works that way for me as well.

I knew I had a few “lifers” on the Texas trip, but my final tally of 19 surprised me. Nineteen butterflies that I saw and photographed for the first time.

This was one of them. This is a clytie ministreak.

This was also new to me.  This is a leda hairstreak.  Both of these hairstreaks are in the same genus and have green or gray-green eyes.  The hairstreaks we have in Iowa have black eyes.

This is a red-bordered metalmark.  I had previously encountered this butterfly on my last Texas Butterfly Festival in 2012.

This is a gulf fritillary.  This butterfly is widespread in the southern part of the U.S. and I have encountered them several times before.  There are even records of it in Iowa, but I have not seen it here.  This butterfly is a nectar thief in this photo–it is obtaining nectar but obviously not pollenating the flower.

The story seems to be the same with this cloudless sulfur.  How is this flower pollenated?  My guess would be humming birds.  Cloudless sulfurs are also widespread butterflies.  They occasionally show up in Iowa and I have photographed them here.

American ladies are quite common in Iowa, so this butterfly is not new to me.  However, I kind of like this photo so I included it here.  You do not need to go to Texas to see this butterfly but you might have to wait until April.

I am going to put on my coat and my gloves and walk up to the post office in a short while.  The wind will be blowing snow in my face.  I do not expect to see any butterflies.


About the roused bear

Nature photographer from central Iowa.
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