It's January in Massachusetts which can be a pretty bleak time of year, especially if you are a butterfly enthusiast. I am trying to incorporate butterflies into my winter as best as I can.
This was the first year I put up a butterfly/dragonfly themed Christmas tree. It was only a 4 foot high tree and was in addition to our main tree. I put it on the table near the front door. It was simple, and yet brought me a lot of joy.
Last weekend, my husband suggested a trip up to The Butterfly Place in Westford, Massachusetts. It was a great idea, but they don't open until Valentine's Day. It sounds like a great place to practice using my new camera.
Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston, Massachusetts is currently hosting an exhibit in their library called "Butterflies: Why We Love Them". It includes their butterfly book collection as well as mounted specimens from the 1950s. Update 1/7/2012: the web site info was not up to date. This exhibit closed in August 2011. I did have a nice chat with the librarian, though!
Boston's Museum of Science includes a Butterfly Garden among its exhibits. Sounds like a good weekend outing!
Otherwise, I have been preparing for the return of butterfly season by studying. The Massachusetts Butterfly Club's website is an extremely helpful resource. They include a chart of butterfly flight dates based on data collected from 1993-2007. From checking this chart, I can identify which are the earliest likely species and approximately when they will return. Come mid to late March, I'll be watching for Cabbage White, Spring Azure, Mourning Cloak, Compton Tortoiseshell, and Eastern Commas.
The Massachusetts Butterfly Club also offers field trips, so I may start the spring search with more seasoned professionals until I develop some skill in spotting these new varieties. Only 10-12 weeks to go!