Saturday, August 31, 2013

MBC Trip to Sherborn Power Lines

Today was overcast in the 70s and very high humidity.  It didn't seem like a particularly good day for seeing butterflies, but there was a scheduled Mass Butterfly Club field trip in one of the hot spots close to home, so I went.  I'm glad I did.  Although the sun only peeked out a few minutes, we saw a good variety of butterflies, I met some new people, and it was fun to be out in nature with like-minded people.  We were searching for Leonard's Skippers, but without the sun to assist us, we did not find any.

Appalachian Browns

Common Spreadwing (female)

Great Spangled Fritillary

Praying Mantis (my first!)

Eastern-Tailed Blue

Eastern Forktail Damselfly

Silver-Bordered Fritillary
(dorsal view)

ventral view

Virginia Meadow Beauty

From my perspective, the Preying Mantis and the Silver-Bordered Fritillary were the highlights of the trip.  I had never seen a Preying Mantis before, and I had only seen a Silver-Bordered Fritillary in New Hampshire to this point.  It was my first sighting for the state of Massachusetts.   The Silver-Bordered Fritillary flew in and landed right next to me on the trail.  I couldn't have asked for a better view or a better photo op!

I also really liked the Virginia Meadow Beauty wildflower.  It has 8 stamens and is a really interesting looking flower.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Butterflies at Heirloom Harvest CSA

At Heirloom Harvest Community Support Agriculture in Westboro, MA, there is good grassland habitat along the dirt roads that lead out to the crop fields.   As long as you stay out of the way of the farmers and out of the crops, the public is welcome to walk here.   Today the roads were very dry and dusty.

Orange Sulphurs, Clouded Sulphurs and Cabbage Whites were flitting across the meadows.   This was another case where you really have to be "present" in order to see other butterflies.  It would have been easy to walk by without seeing them.  Most were small species and remained low in the grasses.

Common Sootywing

Chickweed Geometer Moth

Eastern Tailed Blue

Gray Hairstreak 
(Only one chance to take its photo and then it was gone, so I didn't get a crisp shot)

Common Wood Nymph

All Sightings:
Black Swallowtail 1
Cabbage White 9
Clouded Sulphur 6

Common Sootywing 3
Common Wood Nymph 1
Eastern Tailed Blue 2
Gray Hairstreak 1
Least Skipper 2
Orange Sulphur 5

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Morning in the Meadow

I had a terrible night last night.  I got very little sleep and was actually looking forward to attempting an hour's sleep after my son left for school.  Then, I heard a traffic report that mentioned fog in one area, and I thought, FOG!  Sometimes, the motivation to get out there comes from the strangest places!

Glad I didn't miss this scene!  It wasn't fog, but it was pretty!
(There's plenty of time to sleep tonight!)

Eastern Phoebe (click to enlarge)

Northern Flicker female (left) and House Finch

American Goldfinch (female)

Eastern Bluebird (click to enlarge)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Breakneck Hill Conservation Land

It was gray and wet this morning, but the clouds parted a bit around noon, so I squeezed in a hike over at Breakneck Hill.  It was humid, but the meadows did not disappoint.  Oh, when I opened the garage door to leave, I was serenaded by this lovely Carolina Wren.  What a beautiful song!

Carolina Wren

This dead tree is right alongside the trail.  I'm glad they haven't removed it because the birds really love it!

Eastern Bluebird

Mr. Bluebird appears to be mid-molt.

Black Swallowtail

Butterfly season feels like it is winding down, although it was cloudy and rainy today, so maybe that was the real reason.  The full list of butterflies included:

Common Wood Nymph 3
Peck's Skipper 1
Eastern Tailed Blue 5
American Copper 1
Clouded Sulphur 1
Orange Sulphur 2
Black Swallowtail 2

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Butterflies and Caterpillars

Horn Pond Mountain in Woburn was my morning destination.  It was pretty quiet butterfly-wise, but a good aerobic hike on a beautiful sunny day.

Mourning Cloak

Eastern-Tailed Blue

American Copper

Summer Azure

Sam Jaffe's caterpillar lab at Tower Hill Botanic Garden was my afternoon destination.  I've been wanting to see his lab all summer, and finally this one worked with my schedule.

Spicebush Swallowtail (my favorite!)

Spicebush Swallowtail

Spicebush Swallowtail butterfly

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly

I don't have any moth photos to show what the following caterpillars turn into....and they are all found in New England.  I have some work to do in this category!

Polyphemus Moth

Imperial Moth

Cecropia Moth

Luna Moth

Hickory Horned Devil

Four-Horned Sphinx

Saturday, August 24, 2013

More Local Butterflies

I stopped at the Lake Chauncy Beach parking lot in Westboro and walked along the side of the road checking the Joe Pye Weed for butterflies.  I didn't find any butterflies, but I did see several interesting things.


Common Arrowhead (love this!)

Thread-waisted Wasp

Common Ground-Nut (this was neat looking too)

Next, I stopped at Crane Swamp Trail in Westboro but did end up spending more time in the meadow than in the woods.  Oops.  So much for my plans!

Ruby Meadowhawk

Thanks to Greg D. for help with this identification!

Great Spangled Fritillary

Great Spangled Fritillary

Blue Dasher (female) 
(best guess)

Zabulon Skipper (female)

Eastern Comma

My last stop of the day was to walk at Sherborn Power Lines, taking the trail through the woods from Fessenden Field.

Indigo Bunting (juvenile)

Eastern Tailed Blue 
(the most common butterfly sighting on this walk)

Tufted Titmouse
"I can't believe I ate the whole thing."

Silver Spotted Skipper

Snowberry Clearwing Moth

On my way in, at the edge of the woods where the trail opens up onto the power lines, I saw a flash of an orange butterfly leave this horse manure.  I made sure to check the manure again on my way out.  Can you spot the butterfly?

It flew off as I approached, again, but this time I saw it land in a nearby fern.  Too bad it wasn't fully visible because it was fresh and lovely.

Question Mark (winter form)

Spicebush Swallowtail

As I climbed up the hill back toward Fessenden Field, I noticed that last butterfly sunning itself on top of the ferns at the side of the trail.  The poor thing was quite worn and tattered.