This here 2016 has produced many surprises for me. In Georgia, in Maryland, in western New York, in Israel and in My Own Pennsylvania.
Count the biggest surprises, the absence of butterflies I’ve seen here in western Pennsylvania, countered by the wild abundance of butterflies in Georgia.
Elevated we were, sun bright and friendly, as we reached the front fence of our garden. 10/5/16 should not merit a close look at the bed of giant zinnias. It’s too late here for most butterflies, No? On Friday I did see a worn Monarch female at these same zinnias, and yesterday I marveled at a fresh (fresh!) female Gray hairstreak.
So we stopped, and Huh? Do I see what I see? A Variegated fritillary butterfly, just like this one (at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, Cambridge, Maryland). A female I think. Methodically working one zinnia bloom head, and the next and the next. Cech and Tudor’s Butterflies of the East Coast‘s range map shares that in my state they are ‘scarce/seasonal range.’ They report that there is evidence of limited overwintering, probably as adults.
Will her days end in Pennsylvania, USA, as the days grow colder? Will she find a crevice in a local park tree, and endure our zero degree winter days?
Finally, I just returned from Georgia, and saw many Variegated frits in the Butterflies & Blooms Habitat in Eatonton. Oh, are they difficult to photograph! My 52 rolls of slides just arrived today, courtesy of FedEx. Who knows if I will have a single Variegated image that qualifies as a . . . keeper.
But just an hour ago, on my own October surprise giant zinnias, there was this southeastern winged beauty, though Petra truth be told, paid no attention.