Butterfly Meadow

LorettoThe glorious meadow at Mt. Loretto, a New York State “unique area” at the southern end of Staten Island. (Used to be a lot more like it, of course… SI’s development mirrors the post-war suburban destruction of unique areas.) It was abloom with butterflies recently. Here are a few of the species I saw: Phyciodes tharosPearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos).Cupido comyntasEastern Tailed Blue (Cupido comyntas), in an uncommon open-winged pose.Calycopis cecropsRed-banded Hairstreak (Calycopis cecrops). A species I’ve never seen before. This is the northern edge of its range; it is more common in the deep south. The “hairs” off the tail wagged in the air like antennae, and the spot looks vaguely eye-like. It was hard to tell which end was which, probably the point. Cercyonis pegalaCommon Wood-Nymph (Cercyonis pegala) was another species I’m not familiar with. Cercyonis pegalaA nice surprise.

Other species: Spicebush Swallowtail, Red Admiral, Tiger Swallowtail, Silver-spotted Skipper (the most numerous), Cabbage White, Monarch (2x), one of the Ladies, and these damn confusing skippers:skipperskipper2skipper3skipper4Two different examples of the same species, I think.

I thought I had a pretty good day, even if I later found a list of the butterflies of Staten Island (Richmond Co.) that had 112 species on it. Sometimes you see the snow leopard, sometimes you don’t. One thing I did see when I pulled my eyes from the butterfly-graced, grasshopper-heaving meadow was a huge, dark bird flying so low and slow that I thought it must be a vulture. But it was a mature Bald Eagle, coasting towards Raritan Bay. A pair nest in the area.

3 Responses to “Butterfly Meadow”


  1. 1 Tom Andersen September 3, 2014 at 9:22 am

    Mount Loretto was a Catholic orphanage when I was a kid. It was off-limits for visitors, although it was on the far side of the island from where I lived, too far for me to wander around in anyway. I guess it was spared during the rampant development era of the mid- to late-sixties because an orphanage was more important to the archdiocese than the money that would have been gained by selling to a developer in the days before the government had money to buy and protect land. Nature’s gain.

  2. 2 Peggy Herron September 3, 2014 at 11:03 pm

    What a wonderful day, thank you for sharing your photos .


  1. 1 Staten Inferno | Backyard and Beyond Trackback on September 5, 2014 at 7:04 am

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