Chasing Butterflies at Home–Big Year Update 12

I have been trying to add to my butterfly list by visiting places near home, and it has been a little frustrating. I did get a Peck’ skipper:

This was in the soft mud along the Des Moines River, north of the High Trestle Bridge. The mud was a little too soft, and I could not walk along the river like I had hoped without sinking in.

I spent some time at the canoe access on the north west edge of Big Creek lake. This site is pretty good normally, and is highly attractive to mudding butterflies. The only new one I photographed well enough to add to my list was a gray hairstreak.

My list is now at 56 species. I feel like I should be doing much better. Easy butterflies like red admirals, painted ladies, and black swallowtails I should have by now. I have seen a couple of red admirals but only briefly, and I did not get photos. The other two I have not seen yet.

The Big Creek canoe access site is somewhat degraded from what it has been like in previous years. Specifically, what was a good stand of swamp milkweed has been degraded so that it is only a few blooms.

While hanging out in this area I think I have seen cloudless sulfurs a couple of times. They have not landed and allowed me to get a closer look. That behavior by itself makes me think that is what they are. I watched a single individual examine a small bush then fly off into the trees. Later I saw another or maybe the same individual fly a similar route, covering a great distance without landing. I have not been able to get a photo even from a distance yet.

I have allowed myself the time to admire common butterflies that I have already added to my list. I spent some time crawling in the fogfruit to take some photos of least skippers.

It’s not just about butterflies. I saw this eastern forktail in the same patch of fogfruit.

Today I conducted a survey for the Iowa Butterfly Survey Network at Swede Point Park near Madrid. Here are a couple of photos from there:

This is a golden-legged mydas fly, Mydas tibialis.

And of course, a monarch on a blazing star.

It is probably about time to plan my next trip…

About the roused bear

Nature photographer from central Iowa.
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