Saturday, May 15, 2010

Red Admirals....

were everywhere this morning when we returned to the house after our morning dog walk around the neighborhood. Our house faces east and in the early morning sun our window sills and borders were filled with resting butterflies.I am not an expert so at first I thought they were painted ladies but they are indeed, red admirals. I use "Butterflies Across Cape Cod" written and photographed by Mark J. Mello and Tor Hansen and published by the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History and in the book they describe this butterfly as one that has to "recolonize" the Cape each year. They cannot survive our winters reliably enough to maintain their population. According to Tor Hansen, it is not unusual to see large groups of them "flocking" as they arrive but I have never seen anything like this here.
Butterflies, like all insects, are ectothermic which means they must collect heat and cool themselves from outside themselves. We, and all mammals and birds, are endothermic and self regulate our heat and coolness....Butterflies like it to be about 80 degrees Farenheit and in the early morning it was quite a bit cooler than that. I think the white windowsills were collecting heat as were our shingles and the front of our house had several dozen butterflies on it.
I especially liked the way this one posed among the fern shadows....
Can you see the butterflies on the shingles and window box? (and yes, we need to paint our trim ;-)
This side of my huge lilac patch also faces east and I soon found out why there were so many butterflies nearby--they were feasting on the nectar of the lilacs. They were everywhere! At one point I counted about 50....
I tied to capture them from the distance and if you click on this to enlarge it look at the blossoms and in the air as well as on the house....
Here are two feasting away....
It is around noon as I write this and the butterflies are still here...but on the other side of the house and lilac bush...

4 comments:

  1. That is so awesome Mary. I love butterflies and those are just beautiful!

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  2. This is cool. I love seeing Butterfly's.
    we used to see lots of monarch butterflys like this in CA when we lived there. They were passing through..Here we get big yellow & black ones...the name escapes me.

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