Sunday, March 31, 2013

Worse For Wear

I went out to Hofler Creek again yesterday with Banished Jr. It was more like spring, briefly at least, but we still couldn't find the Henry's Elfin or the Falcate Orange Tip.
So we took a longer walk around the lake and just kept our eyes open. About half way around something much bigger and darker than either of butterflies we were looking for came up out of the dry grass beside the lake. Now I'm kind of picky about the look of my specimens as a rule, but if its something new then a scruffy, worn and over-wintered specimen will make it. Especially when its a butterfly thats a near legendary rarity in the UK. The Camberwell Beauty doesnt breed in the UK but it does turn up from Europe now and then up to a few hundred sightings a year. Over here it's called the Mourning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa) this was only the second I'd seen in 9 years and the only one I'd managed to photograph. Yes its very much the worse for wear but you can see how striking it is when its fresh.
We completed our circuit of the lake, and took one last wander down the salt marsh path where I've seen the Elfin and Orange Tips the last couple of years, without seeing anything else. Then heading back to the car we finally saw one more little butterfly low over the grass of the path. I did think for a moment that it might be the Elfin but there was too much colour and it was noticably larger. Happily it settled on the grass again and I got my shots. It turned out to be the American Snout (Libytheana carinenta). Its another butterfly I've only seen once before and I'd failed to get a picture that time. Its called the Snout for obvious reasons. Its thought that when the wings are folded that the butterfly looks like a dead leaf and the 'snout' looks like the leaf stem.
Back at home we had a female Red Bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus) on the feeder on and off all day. Very attractive little bird, though not as small as the Downy and with a longer, more substantial bill.


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