Butterfly Big Year Update #2

Yesterday was my birthday. I was feeling all of my 66 years. I went to the funeral for my last surviving aunt in the morning. I have been blessed in my life to have 9 aunts and 8 uncles. They were all wonderful people in their own ways, and I miss them all.

On the way home I drove down to Elk Rock State Park, which is on the south shore of Red Rock Reservoir, a little north of Knoxville, Iowa. It was cool in the early afternoon–it frosted overnight, and by the time I got there my car thermometer read 53 degrees F. Too cold for butterflies, one would assume. But there was no wind and it was sunny. I was surprised to see eastern commas on the access road and on a small tree next to it. The micro habitats were warm enough to allow the butterflies to fly.

There seemed to be some kind of damage to the tree–possibly from wood boring insects. The eastern commas were getting some nutrients from the sap.

A few yards down the road I saw some movement–a small dark butterfly.

It was a Henry’s elfin. I took a few photos, then went on down the road and into the equestrian paths, fairly sure I would see more.

But it was not to be. I did not find any more elfins, and when I went back I could no longer find the original.

I wondered around for about three hours and only saw a few additional butterflies. I added cabbage white and meadow fritillary to my list, and saw a couple of mourning cloaks as well.

I have eleven species for the year, although they have not all been verified.

I did enjoy my day. Thanks to all of you who wished me a happy birthday.

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About the roused bear

Nature photographer from central Iowa.
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