Pearly-eyed butterflies dance at dusk
The meadow is filled with butterflies this year. I'm seeing more butter-flies than usual, and more different species, even if I can't identify them all. That jibes with what John and Marlene Weber said about this year's monarch crop, which is sur...
The meadow is filled with butterflies this year.
I'm seeing more butter-flies than usual, and more different species, even if I can't identify them all. That jibes with what John and Marlene Weber said about this year's monarch crop, which is surpassing the previous banner year of 2001.
Right now, the species I'm noticing the most is the northern pearly-eye. This fawn-colored butterfly with multiple eye-spots seems to be everywhere. They dance along the driveway, they hang out across from the mailbox and they perch on the propane tank.
One recent evening when I was bringing in the seed feeders in at dusk, I saw about eight pearly-eyes flying in a circle in the clearing beneath our spruce trees. There was something very magical about their dance because of the time of day and the light, and because it was happening under the trees, not too far from where I've found fairy rings of mushrooms.
Larry Weber's book "Butterflies of the North Woods" states that pearly-eyes are often very active in the early morning and late in the evening "when they court." So, I imagine I was seeing some courtship flying when I observed the pearlies playing ring-around-the-rosie.
Northern pearly-eye butterflies are also supposed to be aggressive, according to Larry Weber, darting out from trees at other passing butterflies. I guess that's another way to say they have big pearly-sonalities.
Peggy from Two Inlets sent me a lot of wonderful news on new arrivals. Among the baby animals that visit or live at Peggy's place are twin fawns, baby 13-liners, little catbirds, one baby hummingbird, a small salamander with a tan eye stripe, the "ever popular" crow baby and kiddie tree swallows.
I've seen hummingbirds share a perch to feed, so I think I have at least one juvenile ruby-throated hummingbird, too. The first batch of phoebes left their nest on the side of our house about two weeks ago, and another nest has been constructed.
This year I made sure to clean the nesting platform after the first phoebes fledged. I didn't do that last year, and when the phoebes re-used their first nest for their second brood, the whole nesting area became infested with feather mites. As a result, I think the babies left the nest too soon and I'm afraid the result wasn't good.
In other bird news, Peggy also said she saw scarlet tanagers May 19 and indigo buntings May 12. She believes the tanagers are nesting in a birch at the edge of her yard. A wren is also nesting at Peggy's, though she thinks it's a newcomer, not a regular, as it didn't seem to know where any of the bird houses were located.
Bluer than blue
When I stopped by the Enterprise office Wednesday, Nancy, Karen and Becky at the front desk all had bluebird news for me. Nancy, who lives north of Dorset, has had a bluebird flying into her windows each day, while Karen, who lives near Menahga, has a bluebird nesting by her clothesline. After hearing those stories, Becky decided to keep her bluebird news to herself.
After chatting about other people's bluebirds in the afternoon, my own nesting "blues" showed up for a bath Wednesday evening. First mom bathed while dad waited in the jack pine, and then dad took a dip.
I hope they bring the kids for a swim soon.
Thank you to all who wrote with news. When sending your reports, be sure to give your name and a little information on where you made your sighting. Send to maureeng@ unitelc.com no later than 8 a.m. Thursdays. If it's easier, feel free to drop a letter by the office, or in the mail.
This column is brought to you by Park Ace Hardware.
The crew at Ace wish you a fun filled and safe 4th of July. Remember Ace for all your grilling needs
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