Monday, May 27, 2013

Sherborn Butterflies

Lesley S., Bob B., and I walked for nearly 3 hours in Sherborn.  It was in the mid 70s with very bright sunshine and an occasional breeze.  We found a wonderful variety of butterflies as soon as we got out of our cars!

Gray Hairstreak

Juvenal's Duskywing

American Copper

Common Ringlet

Eastern Tailed Blues, mating

American Coppers, mating

Red-Spotted Purple
a life butterfly for me!

The above photos were all within 15 feet of our cars!

Common Whitetail
(juvenile male)

(not the most cooperative model)

Northern Cloudywing (unconfirmed)

Wild Indigo Duskywing (unconfirmed)

Peck's Skipper

American Lady


Gray Hairstreak on wild indigo

We were serenaded by Indigo Buntings and Prairie Warblers as we walked and also saw Turkey Vultures and Eastern Kingbirds.  It was so nice to be butterflying and enjoying a warm, sunny day!  Thank you to Bob and Lesley for a lovely afternoon!


  1. What a great selection of butterflies. I must check out my USA butterfly book to find the scientific names for them. Many of them look similar to European species and they may be the same. Certainly the American Copper is called the Small Copper here and is the same species.

    1. Hi Nick,
      We saw many more varieties for which I didn't get photos. Lesley was keeping track of species and numbers, so I didn't pay as much attention. It was the first real good butterflying day I've had this year. Sorry I don't post the scientific names! I may get there some day....

    2. According to Wikipedia, the Small Copper and the American Copper are the same species, scientific name: Lycaena phlaeas.

    3. I have been having fun trying to match your butterflies with equivalents from Europe! Your Gray Hairstreak - Strymon melinus - looks very like the European Purple Hairstreak - Neozephyrus quercus, although apparently not that closely related.

      Juvenal's Duskywing - Erynnis juvenalis - seems to be a close relative to the European Dusky Skipper - Erynnis tages.

      The Common Ringlet - Coenonympha tullia - also occurs over here, but we call it the Large Heath.

      Your Eastern Tailed Blue - Cupido comyntas - has a close cousin over here - The Small Blue - Cupido minimus, although ours has no tail and seems to be less colourful.

      I was surprised to discover that the Red-Spotted Purple - Limenitis arthemis - is related to our White Admiral - Limenitis camilla, although it looks quite different.

      The Viceroy - Limenitis archippus - has a very similar relative here and in the USA - the Monarch - Danaus plexippus which only occurs in southern Europe here

      The next three butterflies - the Northern Cloudywing - Thorybes pylades, the Wild Indigo Duskywing - Erynnis baptisiae, and Peck's Skipper - Polites peckius don't seem to have any close relatives in the UK. Maybe further a field in Europe there is something, but I am not very knowledgeable about Skippers.

      The American Lady - Vanessa virginiensis - is a very rare migrant in Europe. As with much of the world, we have the Painted Lady - Vanessa cardui. It is second to the Monarch for its migratory skills, moving from Northern Africa to Northern Europe. However, it doesn't seem to have the skills of the Monarch for returning to its winter habitat!
      I love finding out about butterflies from around the world and how they relate to others from different areas.

    4. I should have added that other than the Painted Lady, sadly none of the above butterflies occur in this part of Scotland. So far only eight different species have been recorded here this year!!