Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Frosted Elfin Butterflies

I am grateful to Madeline C., who showed me a habitat with which she is very familiar of the Frosted Elfin butterfly, a threatened species in Massachusetts.  We walked around this habitat for a little over two hours, taking an inventory of all the Frosted Elfins we came across.  She has the area mapped out and knows which ones were there the last time she visited and which ones are new.  I think she said that last time she was there, she counted 18 males (who show up first).  We ended up with a count of 26, as well as 2 Cabbage Whites, 4 Juvenal Duskywings, 1 Gray Hairstreak and 1 Black Swallowtail.  It was a lovely opportunity to get to know a member of the Massachusetts Butterfly Club, to bear witness to her passion for this particular butterfly species, learn a bit about it, see some close up, and as a bonus, see one life bird and three FOY birds!  It was HOT and sunny and the habitat is quite dry and crispy.  I was happy to have 2 glasses of water when we finished up!

Bleeding Hearts in Madeline's garden

Springtime Darner (unconfirmed)

I've seen a few dragonflies around this spring, but this is the first one that I was able to photograph.

Frosted Elfin
The "star" of the day!

Juvenal's Duskywing

Prairie Warbler, a life bird

Frosted Elfin

Birdfoot Violets
(named for its leaves looking like bird's feet)

I never saw these violets before, and kept remembering them incorrectly as Dogtooth Violets.  These are such a pretty little wildflower and such a surprise in this dry habitat.

Madeline suspected that this one may have just emerged, because it sat on this blade of grass for a long time without moving and we were able to get nice macro shots of it.  Lovely view of its patterns and neat shaped wings.

Eastern Towhee
Singing "drink your tea" to us from this tree

This one posed on a blueberry bush, providing the prettiest picture out of the bunch.

Gray Hairstreak
(one of my favorites)


  1. Madeline's Bleeding Heart is well ahead of mine, which is only about six inches tall with no signs of flowers yet.
    I love the Frosted Elfin. A butterfly that I am not familiar with. It is very unusual. The Grey Hairstreak is also very beautiful. I love butterflies of the Lycaenidae family.

    1. You aren't too far behind us. Any butterflies yet? The Frosted Elfin was so fun - really a fast flyer and took some getting used to in order to not lose sight of it.