Sunday, March 3, 2013

Flower Hill Farm Butterflies of 2012 ~ American Copper

The teeny tiny American Copper (Lycaena phlaeas) packs a sizable palette for one so small.   I was happy to find this little butterfly sunning in the south field back in May of 2012. Its wingspan is only 7/8 x 1 1/8 . . . a delicate, miniature, ephemeral painting belonging to the Gossamer-wings family . . . offering distinctive marks and textures that one can identify but never own. However, photos and happy memories are filed, of a late may day, walking in the south field along side a fragile, yet plentiful living jewel. 

We might pause before pulling out all of the invasive Sheep Sorrels or Curly Dock of the Rumex family growing in our gardens and meadows. I am sure to examine plants carefully before composting them in hopes of finding eggs or caterpillars of this lively and vibrant butterfly. Stands of sorrel are left to grow along the south field paths . . .  in honor of American Coppers.

The American Copper butterflies are on the wing or in varying stages of metamorphosis from mid May through the middle of September. They overwinter here in their chrysalis stage or as the Massachusetts Butterfly Club's great website mentions ~ in half grown Larva state.

It stimulates the imagination, to consider life waiting beneath heavy blankets of snow now filling our Western Massachusetts gardens, fields and forest . . . and as far as the eye can see, lightly coating every twig and tree. Hemerocallis sleep within a deep frost . . . waiting to feel alive again.
Color will run riot in just a couple of months, but for now, just outside our windows and doors the dawning sun paints the sky, clouds and mist ethereal hues of lavender and pink.

March continues to hold fast to winter's quiet and cold beauty. 
Bluebirds are patiently guarding their house, while the Mount Holyoke Range sits shrouded in pink mist. 

Spring seems content to stay away for now . . . I shall have to visit 'early spring' at the Lyman Conservatory on the Smith College campus just fifteen minutes away down in the neighboring town of Northampton, where visitors can inhale an elixir of hyacinths and other flowering bulbs of their Spring Bulb Show.

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