Sunday, September 15, 2013

MBC Trip to Sudbury River Valley

I joined today's Massachusetts Butterfly Club field trip to the Sudbury River Valley in search of the Bronze Copper butterfly.  We met at Cow Commons in Wayland, for parking, and walked through the Wayland Community Gardens looking for Bronze Coppers.  No sign of any there, and butterfly activity was low, but we did see a Mourning Cloak and a Silver-Spotted Skipper.

Mourning Cloak

From here we drove over to Sedge Meadow in Wayland.  This meadow had very high growth.  We were still looking for Bronze Coppers and were not seeing much except for Cabbage Whites.

Leopard Frog

Gray Catbird

Finally, a shout rang out ~~ Bronze Copper!  It was deep in the high grass.  But we all had a nice view before it flew off deeper into the meadow.  

Bronze Copper (female)

Sometimes the butterflies are visible from the path, and other times, you have to be willing to dive in the habitat in order to see them.  Here's a shot of some of the club members who went deep into the meadow after the single Bronze Copper!  Marj is 3rd from the left and only the top of her hat is showing!

Garden Spider

When we were getting back into the cars, we saw this caterpillar booking it across the parking area (well, fast for a caterpillar anyway!).

Virginia Tiger Moth caterpillar

From Sedge Meadow, we made a quick pit stop at Dunkin Donuts and then stopped at Nine Corners where we had even more good luck with Bronze Coppers, Monarchs, a Viceroy and tons of Sulphurs.

Bronze Copper

Monarch (male) (#8 this year)


Clouded Sulphur

Monarch caterpillar

The above photo is of curly dock, the host plant of this butterfly.  The female was getting on these leaves and then walking down the center vein to the bottom of the plant, where we assumed she was depositing her eggs.  Then she'd reappear.

Crab Spider (lying in wait for a butterfly)


Monarch #10

We made one last stop at the Sudbury Community Gardens.  The best sighting here was a wolf spider mother carrying her newly hatched babies on her back!

Eastern Tailed Blue

Wolf Spider carrying its babies on its abdomen.
Good Mama!

Ruby Meadowhawk


  1. Good to see so many butterflies about. I love the Bronze Copper. The opposing colours on the underside of the wings is very attractive. No butterflies seen here today. All of the Swallows left yesterday as well!!

    1. The Bronze Copper was a real beauty! Similar to our American Copper on the underside wings, but a bit larger. There were lots of warnings pre-walk that we may not see any since the leader had only seen 2-3 all summer. So we lucked out!
      Starting to see the Fall migrants here too, and it's definitely chilly in the mornings!