Monday, March 12, 2012

Eastern Comma Butterfly (1st Butterfly Sighting of 2012!)

I was in the backyard at lunchtime practicing taking photos of birds in flight.  Today is an unusually warm day with temperatures in the 60s, and it occurred to me that I should look around on hardwood tree trunks for butterflies.  Imagine my delight on spotting an Eastern Comma on a sticky, sappy branch of a maple tree right in my own yard!  I had not seen an Eastern Comma before (because I only started learning about butterflies in May last year), so not only is this my first butterfly of 2012, but it is my first Eastern Comma!  A great day!

This type of early spring butterfly spends the winter here in adult form and comes out from its hiding place on warm, sunny days. They eat sap rather than nectar, so they are able to survive well in advance of spring flowers.

The sappy bark was attracting all kinds of flying insects and not just butterflies.

Oh, and I am starting to get lucky with the birds in flight photographs, too!  Still a work in progress.  More practice needed!

There were some nice birds at the feeder, and I especially enjoyed the Goldfinch, already brightening up a bit for spring.


  1. What a great way to start a day. The first butterfly of the season and an unusual on at that. It is so pretty. Are they very big? I've never seen one of these before. Have a nice day.

    1. Well, it's not really unusual, but I just started paying attention to butterflies last spring so I had not seen one before. Its wingspan is 1 3/4" - 2". Its regular flight period in Mass is mid-April to mid-Oct but it has been seen as early as Mar 9 before. Just needs a warm day! I love that it is so camouflaged when closed, but so bright and beautiful when open!