I spent the afternoon watching butterflies.
All I needed was my close-focus Bushnell 7x26 Custom Compacts, my iPod (with the Wisconsin Butterflies App) and cup full of ice cubes.
With the temperature hitting a record high of 96 and unbearable humidity after last night's storm, I expected to see lots of butterflies, in all the usual places.
I spotted 15 species - sunning on the roads, nectaring on wildflowers along the roads, feeding on scat and puddling on moist sand and mud.
I spotted hundreds of Clouded Sulphurs flitting over the alfalfa fields, nectaring on roadside wildflowers and congregating at puddles.
A surprise puddle of Mustard Whites on wet sand. (Their larval food plants are in the mustard family - Rock Cress and Toothwort).
A dozen or so Milbert's Tortoiseshells along Dunn County Road "O" east of Meridean. Not a surprise with all the larval food (nettles) in the ditches. The adult Milbert's nectar on thistle and goldenrods - both starting to bloom.
I spotted Monarch Butterfly eggs and larvae, a pleasant surprise in view of the recent highway mowing. I was sad to see all the adults dead on the road.
At first glance, I thought this Common Buckeye was just another Red Admiral. A migrant in Wisconsin, it's the first I've ever seen other than on a postage stamp. Their favorite nectar flowers are just starting to bloom - asters, chickory and knapweed. Their larval food plant is plantain, gerardia and toadflax.
The other species on my list include:
|Red Spotted Purple|
Eastern Tiger Swallowtails
Eastern Tailed Blues