Pearl Crescents are in the same subfamily of ‘True Brushfoots’ (Nymphalinae), as the larger Painted Ladies and they too are often enjoyed here on our farm in numbers of over fifty during the summer. Tiny Pearl Crescents are utterly enchanting flying about the middle meadow garden and fields . . . especially when their brown-orange colors are enriched by the light of the sun.
|Eastern Tailed-Blue and American Copper|
|Painted Lady (folded wings), Eastern Tailed-Blue, Painted Lady (open wings),
Common Ringlet, American Copper, Giant Swallowtail,
Little Wood Satyr, Common Wood Nymph, Question Mark
|Eastern Tiger Swallowtail|
The smaller Eastern Tiger Swallowtail not only differs in size but also has a very different pattern on its wings . . . the only time it might be confused with its cousin the giant is when the wings are folded.
|Flower Hill Farm Butterflies of 2012|
Other than a couple of skippers, this is the collection of butterflies I was able to catch sight of throughout last year in our gardens and fields. Twenty-two or so species is only a small amount of the one hundred three butterfly species known to inhabit Massachusetts. I will continue to work with my land and gardens to provide a more diverse habitat that hopefully will attract many new butterflies to Flower Hill Farm.
Learning to identify the caterpillars, their host plants and the overwintering habits of various butterflies, will go a long way to securing their success in our gardens. I am especially indebted to the Massachusetts Butterfly Club for their highly educational and beautiful website along with the invaluable Mass Audubon’s Butterfly Atlas. I have been able to identify and learn about all the butterflies in this series by visiting the two websites above. I am thrilled to now be a member of the Massachusetts Butterfly Club which is a chapter of the North American Butterfly Association.
Connecting with other butterfly enthusiasts is a wonderful way to learn more about butterflies and how we can all help preserve habitat for these remarkable creatures.
Mourning Cloaks are not among the list above as I did not see one last year. This April did, however, bring at least six from their overwinter hiding places, but not one was close enough to capture with my camera. It is exciting to begin a new season of butterfly watching and I hope my list will grow along with my unbridled enthusiasm for these spirited gifts of nature.
Wishing all a happy May and a bountiful butterfly season!