Friday, June 18, 2010

Lower Chippewa River Butterflies and a New Crop of Tiny Toads

I went out this morning to see how the birds and butterflies along the Lower Chippewa weathered last night's storm.  I expected to see birds bathing in the temporary puddles along the bike trail and in the potholes on the dirt roads.

I spotted a few birds, but the big surprise was the hundreds of butterflies. 

Hackberry Emperor
caterpillars feed on hackberry
adults feed on wet spots along roads, sap rotting fruit, carrion, dung
overwinter as caterpillars in dead rolled leaves

I spotted hundreds of orange and black butterflies along the road...

Red Admiral
caterpillar feeds on nettles
adult feeds on nectar and rotting fruit

Northern Crescent
caterpillars live and feed communally on asters
adults feed on nectar of dogbane, fleabane and white clover
overwinter as hibernating caterpillars

Eastern Comma
caterpillars feed on elms and nettles
adults feed on rotting fruit and tree sap
over winter as adults

Northern Crescent and Great Spangled Fritillary
Great Spangled Fritillary caterpillars feed on violets
Adults feed on nectar
overwinter as newly hatched caterpillars

Silvery Checkerspot
caterpillars feed communally on Rudbeckia and sunflowers
adults feed on nectar - milkweed, dogbane and clover
overwinter as caterpillars

Mourning Cloak
caterpillars are communal feeders on willows, cottonwood, aspen, birch and hackberry
adults feed on tree sap and rotting fruit, occasionally nectar
overwinter as adults

Spring Azure
caterpillars are "tended" by ants and feed on dogwood, spirea, cherry and viburnum
adults feed on nectar (dogbane, milweed, blackberry)
overwinters as a chrysalis

But the biggest surprise of all were the dozens of tiny (no bigger than a fly) Eastern American Toads on the road.   It's amazing that any survive the crossing.

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