New England Aster

New England Aster Wildflower photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

Butterflies needn’t fret in these months of September and November… many plants are at the height of flower production. Prominent among these is Aster novae-angliae. O. E. Jennings (1953) describes this beautiful, native aster as at its best in some moist, weedy tangle, often forming clumps along an old fence or woods border. This plant sparkled in Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania.

Our experience is that butterflies do not seek New England Aster as #1 on their preferred list, rather they resource these beckoning  flowers as a backup source of nutrition. You wonder if these sweet pretties aren’t also present in Fall habitat to provide hikers and strollers a premium of lovely bloom, amidst otherwise expansive palettes of ongoing green?

In 1979 the National Audubon Society‘s North American Wildflowers – Eastern Region ( Thieret, et al ) set its range throughout the eastern U.S., south to Georgia, north to North Dakota and west to Oklahoma, and parts of western united States. Let us know if that range has expanded since?


Little Wood Satyr Butterfly

Little wood satyr butterfly photographed at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

A nice diversion from the larger, flashy swallowtails and brushfoot butterflies . . . the Little Wood Satyr butterfly shuns the open terrain, stays away from wildflower beds.

It spends its time in treed habitat and where woods border on trails and paths. Seek them in May and June. Their numbers are cyclical . . . some years there’s lots of them.

Don’t search for them in your flower beds . . . remember they are found in forest. Don’t wait for them in wildflower beds. They don’t seem to nectar at wildflowers.

Here I was pleased to see that this one had sweet, sweet blue dabbed into its eyespots. Are you able to see the blue in the eyespots?

Which of the following will they enjoy? Rotting fruit or scat or tree sap drip?