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.