Friday, October 1, 2010

Butterfly Love

I decided to walk the long route at Fort Yargo State Park this morning. The weather forecast said winds of 9 mph from the north and I didn’t feel up to fighting the wind in the boat. I walked from the boat launch (segment 1) to the dam (segment 5) by the back trail and back by the trail along the lake. It was cool when I set out but had warmed up nicely by the time I was coming back and the butterflies were out. There was quite an assortment: Zabulon Skippers (Poanes zabulon), Common Buckeyes (Junonia coenia), Pearl Crescents (Phyciodes tharos), Cloudless Sulphurs (Phoebis sennae) and Variagated Fritillaries (Euptoieta claudia).

First there was one Variegated Fritillary on the trail. It flew ahead of me. Setting down and then taking off again when I got to close. Then it flew over and landed on a leaf.

Within a few seconds a second butterfly set down facing the first.

The lower butterfly then hopped up beside the first, facing the same way and fluttered its wings rapidly. The second butterfly is almost completely hidden by the first.

Then they aligned head to tail. They repeated this pattern several times before flying up into the air in a dance and off across the field.
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