Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Flower Hill Farm BUTTERFLIES OF 2011 ~ Favorite Crescents



Now for some more of the lovely Brushfooted Butterflies of the Nymphalidae family.  
The wing patterns of the Pearl Crescent Phyciodes tharos, vary significantly as you will see in the three featured here. This butterfly was from a late May 2011 brood and is feasting on what I believe to be a Robin's Plantain Erigeron pulchellus

It is hard to believe that the third instar caterpillars of the last broods from September are wintering over out in the fields and gardens somewhere near their host native aster plants. I hope they are safe from the many juncos, goldfinches and robins who are constantly combing the snowless areas of ground. Though since the female butterfly deposits up to 700 eggs in groupings of 20 -300 on aster leaves, there may well be an abundance of surviving dormant caterpillars to spare a few tasty bites for the birds. Birds must survive the winter somehow too.

Male Pearl Crescent ~ Note Flat Tip of Abdomen
Another Late May Pearl Crescent Minus One Antenna

Another late May male, I am guessing,  but the outlines on all the wings are so much darker.  It might just be that I took this photo in a less sunny spot.  


These butterflies will nectar on most any flower. Above is a female enjoying marjoram flowers. Bright mid July sun washes out the more vivid colors of this  Pearl Crescent .


Female Pearl Crescent ~ Note Pointed Tip of Abdomen 

This female Pearl Crescent was captured feeding on a Rudbeckia in August of 2011. 


I find these butterflies even more difficult to identify than the varied Fritillaries. Sometimes just seeing the negative space can help us see forms. Each of these three different Pearl Crescents is on a different flower and I have them placed so as to show the varying patterns on the wings. By draining the color away in the top photos we can more easily see the patterns.

It is easiest to identify the Pearl Crescent by seeing her underwings. Note the pearly white crescent on the butterfly below. 

Flower Hill Farm 2010 ~ Note ~ Pearly Crescent on Underwing

In 2010 the middle garden/meadow was filled with hundreds of these tiny 1 - 1 1/2 inch wing span Pearl Crescents. It was magical walking amongst the multitude of sunlit wings flitting about the large stand of gooseneck.

Pearl Crescent 2009 in the spring garden

I found this image from the gardens of 2009. The variety of the wing patterns is so confusing but beautiful. I cannot believe anyone could call this small butterfly dull. 


We are still living out the mild winter of 2012 and though there are no beautiful butterflies flying about, there are plenty of birds that gather each morning atop Michael's Black Cherry to await the rising sun. The colors of the goldfinches are beginning to turn yellow again. 
One solitary bluebird seems to hangout with nearly fifty finches. I hope they help keep him warm at night.



The golden sun is climbing farther to the north each day along Walnut Hill. March is nearly here and spring will not be far for this corner of New England. 

It is time to visit Gail for Wildflower Wednesday! 
Katarina is offering the word Color this week. 

50 comments:

Country Gal said...

Fantastic photos ! I often go back to look at all my Butterfly photos as well . I cant wait till summer to be back in the garden and fields photographing the Butterfly's and wild flowers ! Have a good day !

Janet Way said...

What a gorgeous blog and farm! Thanks for sharing. Wish I could fly there and visit, magically!

Bridget said...

Beautiful pics...as usual! Those rising sun shots are gorgeous...so calming and beautiful.

Brenda said...

Stunning photos - especially love the shot of the finches with the bluebird. I've only seen a bluebird once, and briefly, in my garden, shortly after we installed our pond - we're longing to see more this year. I learn something every time I stop in here!

Mia McPherson said...

Lovely burtterfly images. Your farm sounds delightful.

Sarah Laurence said...

I always enjoy your butterflies and that sunset is beyond gorgeous - like a fire burning in the sky!

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

Lovely images! Thanks for sharing them.

We raised anise swallowtails this year, but I think a lot if them were "duds.". I'm wondering when I should give up on the coccoons.

Randy Emmitt said...

Carol,

Really liked this series of Pearl Crescents. You got the sexes right too, I usually go by the skinny versus fat abdomen. There can be a great deal of variation in these tiny butterflies, notably each brood can be different from the last brood. Going up to 76 tomorrow!

Andrea said...

I am amazed at your diligence in observing the differences. I cannot see that because my photos are not the way i want them to be, as my butterflies have already dried their wings when they arrive. Maybe they dry them longer in colder climates. Now i learned a very notable difference between male and female. I always do that with just their colors because i normally dont see their abdomen. I can only observe fully whenever i see a dead one.

sweetbay said...

They are beautiful little butterflies. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing your wonderful "captures" of them!

Gillian Olson said...

Wonderful photos, I love the patterns on the butterfly antennae.

Rose said...

What a fascinating post! I am happy I've learned to identify some of the different species of butterflies in recent years, but I have so much more to learn about them. Beautiful images of a sweet little butterfly.

Carol said...

Thanks Country Gal!

Carol said...

Dear Janet, Thank you for your kind words of support. Would that we could all fly magically!! Come for a visit sometime!

Carol said...

Thank you dear Bridget! It is a treat to see the sun rising each day . . . especially to see how our turning earth is bringing longer days!

Carol said...

Thank you so Brenda! I do hope you will have Bluebirds this year. Do you have nest boxes up for them? How lovely to have a pond!

Carol said...

Thank you Mia!

Carol said...

Dear Sarah, I am so glad you enjoy this series. Thank you for your kind words. It was like a large ball of fire!

Carol said...

Thank you Lisa and Robb! I am not sure what you mean? Do you buy the cocoons? I only raise caterpillars I find in my gardens.

Carol said...

Gee! Thanks Randy!! I past the test. I do love these tiny beauties! Enjoy the warm days!

Carol said...

Dear Andrea, thanks so for visiting. I hope you will have better luck in seeing the many details of all the butterflies that share your world.

Carol said...

Thank you dear Sweetbay!

Carol said...

Thank you Gillian! Those antennae and knobs are pretty neat!

Carol said...

Thank you so Rose! We all have endless amounts to learn about the flora and fauna in our lives. Each year brings more understanding!

Helen said...

Educational and beautiful. Thank you, Carol !

Gail said...

I like this cutie pie butterfly~They visit my garden, but I'm more likely to see the Silvery Checkerspot~and are they similar looking! I can't wait to see the butterflies again, but, in the meantime the birds are perfect garden flowers! xogail

The Sage Butterfly said...

Your images make me pine for the beauty of butterflies! With this warm weather perhaps they will be here sooner rather than later. I am very glad you took so many photos...wonderful!

AnnCharlotte said...

I love yor pictures...as always...
Have a great weekend :)

Gunilla said...

Fantastic photos and educational and beautiful.

Have a great weekend
Gunilla

Rosie@leavesnbloom said...

Carol these butterflies don't visit our region but it must be lovely to see so many of them on your property each year to give you such great opportunities for photographing them. I hope you've got a herd of caterpillars out in those aster fields just now!

Janet said...

Your studies of butterflies are amazing, especially the close-ups.

Vilmantas said...

Magnificient colours!

Randi said...

Carol, you really know how to use your camera! Amazing shots!!! These butterflies are so beautiful!
Have a great weekend!

joey said...

Your posts, always wonderful/informative ... do hope your book is forthcoming, Carol. You have the gift!

Katarina said...

Imagine our world without its magnificient colours...what a bore!
Your fabulous pictures are vibrant!
Wishing you a great weekend!

Anja said...

Kära Carol!

I agree with Randi! Absolutely gorgeous images.
And Carol! Thanks for the cute card - I really enjoyed it.

Kram, Anja

Carol said...

Thank you Helen. I am learning so much by doing this series.

Carol said...

Dear Gail, If you cannot see the underwings, it is maddening trying to identify these beauties. Yes, the birds do add animation and color to the gardens right now. Thank you for visiting and sharing!

Carol said...

Thank you Sage Butterfly! Spending the winter with all these images is making me long for the butterflies too. It will not be too long now and we will be seeing Mourning Cloaks here.

Carol said...

Thank you dear Ann Charlotte! Kram

Carol said...

Thank you, thank you Gunilla! Kram

Carol said...

Dear Rosie, Thank you so! I do hope there are many caterpillars that survive the winter too! It amazes me they can do it at all.

Carol said...

Thank you Janet! It is fun to do macro with butterflies. It is hard but when they are intent on nectaring they do not seem to mind me too much.

Carol said...

Thank you Vilmantas! I do love their colors and those of the surrounding gardens. Especially love when the butterfly colors are before their complements.

Carol said...

Kara Randi! Really and truly I do not know that much about what I am doing. I am not a techie in any way. Unfortunately. I need to learn more but thank you so much for your kind words!

Carol said...

Dearest Joey! Thank you so much!! Your kind words of support mean a great deal. I am working . . . in my way . . . towards that goal.

Carol said...

Kara Katarina! So true!! Thank you! Thank you!

Carol said...

Thank you dearest Anja! I am so glad! Be Well! Kramar!

Randy Emmitt said...

Carol,

Oh my I have seen a post by you on several blogs including mine about BUTTERFLIES OF 2011 ~ Favorite White Admiral & Red-spotted Purple, yet clicking on it, it says the posts does not exist. Blogger must have some problems, I have had 3 comments by Sweetbay end up in my spam box for no reason.

Carol said...

Oh, Randy I am sorry . . . it is not blogger but my new mind . . . which tires very easily and hit publish too soon! I went and deleted the posts but could not take the icon off. I now know how I can. The post is coming right up!!

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