Working that bone dry arroyo in the White Tank Mountains Regional Park just west of Phoenix, Arizona. There were scant few flowers to be found there. Those flowers that I was able to find for sure attracted butterflies. When I found flowers in full bloom, all I had to do was wait moments, and from what seemed nowhere, butterflies of known and unknown species would fly directly in, and they’d work the open flowers slowly and methodically.
This American Snout butterfly (Libytheana carinenta) was a fine, willing subject. They please me, when they flash their vivid orange-red patches, white blazes and my bunch recalls Jimmy Durante and his ‘schnoz,’ which the Snouts extended papla always, always remind me of, and the Durante memories . . . make me smile.
That arroyo, please never enter one. I did, many times those years visiting family in Sun City West (Del Webb development). Yes, signs warned to never enter them. Admittedly, I disregarded those signs, and in retrospect, a flash flood, arriving at high speed, and drowning this boy from far away Brooklyn would have been not the way I want to pass.
I’m now in my 3rd read of Wild America by Roger Tory Peterson and James Fisher (Houghton Mifflin, 1955) and on page 53, they slightly unnerved me. Peterson, the great birder who is so revered by many I know, is touring the Potomac River in Washington, D.C. with James Fischer, this Fisher’s first visit to North America.
Peterson notes that “Hundreds of species-no one knows exactly how many, because new ones are constantly being noticed-are now part of the American flora. The list is long . . .dandelion, black mustard, spearmint, peppermint, forget-me-not, mullein, field daisy . . . yarrow, teasel, tansy, and many, many others.” Teasel? My beloved teasel, that so enabled me back in Pennsylvania when I visited Raccoon Creek State Park as many as 200 times? Enabled me because when it was in bloom, as it is here in this image, it attracted butterflies, moths and Ruby-throateds, and they loved its nectar so much, that I was able to score many, many pleasing images.
So teasel is here to stay, but, it ranks as an alien species. No Leps use it as a host plant. What would Doug Tallamy say of that?