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Sunday, January 26, 2014

6 on the 26th!

It all started with a glimpse of a butterfly that I thought might have been a Mourning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa).  I was at the intersection of Jonive Road and the Bodega Highway and it flew across the road and disappeared.  Well, if I wanted a better view of a Mourning Cloak, where else could I find one?  Early in the season in New England I would observe them in warm, sunny spots around willows.  I could think of several nearby sites with appropriate habitat, so I decided to make a quick stop to see if I could find a Mourning Cloak.

Once I arrived, it took a few minutes, but I was very excited to spot this handsome butterfly cruising by overhead!  It finally landed on a bare, sunlit branch.  It was a little too far away for a good picture, but I'm including it here because it's just the beginning of this butterfly story and it's my first Mourning Cloak picture from Bodega!

While starting my search for a Mourning Cloak, I noticed another species of butterfly:

Buckeye (Junonia coenia) This was the most numerous butterfly I saw today.  Sometimes it's hard to know if the same individuals are passing through an area, but I'm guessing I observed at least 12 Buckeyes in a very short time this afternoon.

And then I noticed this butterfly fluttering along the side of the road and nectaring on a yellow mustard:

I'm glad I took a closer look.  I could have mistaken this for a Cabbage White.  But note the dark gray scaling bordering the veins on the undersides of the wings.  This is a Margined White (Pieris marginalis)I've also seen it called a Veined White.  Since I haven't shown this species on the blog before, here's one more picture:

And then I looked behind me and just barely saw this butterfly spread out among the leaves:

Not a great picture, but you can still identify this as a Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta).

What next?  I scanned some of the flowering mustard again and spotted this species:

Mylitta Crescent (Phyciodes mylitta)

Okay, call me crazy, but I couldn't help wondering, can I find 6 species of butterflies on January 26th?  I could think of at least one more species that I might be able to find in this area given these conditions and the other species I'd seen so far.  I was near a sunny woodland edge with some low wet spots.  The species I was thinking of often rested on tree trunks, so I started scanning.

I didn't find it on a tree, but one flew by and eventually landed on a blackberry leaf.  Yes!

Satyr Anglewing (Polygonia satyrus) just glowing!

And now you're going to think I'm even crazier.  I was kicking myself that I hadn't planned my day differently.  I'm pretty sure I could have found several more species near the coast (Monarch, and one or two ladies?).  Next time.

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