Winter Antidotes I

Mourning Cloak Butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow in Toronto

Bitter cold, bone-chilling wind, always the threat of snow flurries, or even more disarming, snow. This New York, cum Pittsburgh boy has known northeast winters throughout his life.

15 years of seeking butterflies, seriously, has added another negative to my winter list. No butterflies (wild).

Let’s share this as the first of a number of winter antidotes. After all, these Mourning Cloak butterflies (Nymphalis Antiopa) are generally the very first to be seen, and that’s often during the last week in February, sometimes with much snow on the ground.

So friends, for those go-getters who are willing, it may be just a modest 54 days plus or minus, until our first northeastern butterflies take wing.

How? Don’t most require a minimum of 60 F to fly? Yes, most do, but this butterfly flies when it is much colder than that. Then how can the manage without nectar about? Mourning cloaks enjoy sugary sap dripping from maples and other trees, and they food on scat.

54? OK.

Jeff

 

7 thoughts on “Winter Antidotes I

    • Thanks Fran. You are commenting on my #1 favorite butterfly, the Mourning cloak. An earlier post on wingedbeauty.com recounts a very emotional experience I had with one, shortly after a crushing personal loss.
      Happy New Year!

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    • Great questions. They undergo an amazing substitution, replacing their blood with a revised component, rich in antifreeze-like sugary molecules. Their rich coloration? That they cannot do, and the Spring ’15 emergents will not look as vibrantly colored as the mourning cloak in this Toronto, Canada image.
      I so appreciate sharing with you. Happy 2015!

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  1. Kim, Me too. Some years they’re more common, other years they seem to be absent. They are found well south of Jersey, but they are really a more northern species. When I went up to Toronto, I searched for them in a city park, found a stand of milkweed, and it was LOADED with mourning cloaks! Could not believe my eyes.
    Thanks so much. Let’s make 2015 the best year ever!

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