Posts Tagged 'butterflies'

Monarchs, Mostly

All the Monarch caterpillars I’ve seen this month in Green-Wood. Not overwhelmed by the numbers, unlike two years ago.
Black Swallowtail for a change of pace.

I thought this Judith Butler interview on gender was excellent. It was an exchange of emails, so much better than a conversation; the written word is still the most powerful tool of communication we have.

[The initial version of this post mailed to subscribers had the wrong link to the Butler interview. Sorry about that. It’s now been corrected.]

Twofers and More

European Paperwasp and Two-spotted Scoliid Wasp.
Clouded Sulphur (or is there some orange in there?) and something something skipper.
Another skipper, in the background, along with an Common Eastern Bumblebee and a striped sweat bee.
Monarch and more Common Eastern BBs.
Two species of metallic sweat bees.
Monarch and skipper.
From the top clockwise: European Hornet, Cicada-killer Wasp, Eastern Yellowjacket, all slurping up lilac sap.

Good gravy!

Butterflies & Ballots

The small dark butterflies are a confusing lot, especially when just flitting by. Give them a chance to perch, though, and things can get a little clearer. This is a Common Sootywing.
These are both Wild Indigo Duskywings, I think.
There are several other duskywing species, including the classical inspired Horace’s and Juvenal’s, but I’m not sure which one this is.
Dun Skipper. Probably.

NYC: You can now request your absentee ballot for November. The “temporary illness” category now includes the pandemic threat: “If you are affected by COVID-19 and/or the potential of contracting the virus, please check the box for “Temporary Illness” on the application. The definition has been temporarily expanded to include “a risk of contracting or spreading a disease” such as COVID-19.”

Folks in other states, now is the time to figure out your options.

More Butterflies

Rare to see an Eastern Tailed-blue open like this.
Male Monarch with bent wing. Very origami, but still eating.
Quite a year for skippers.
Spicebush Swallowtail with close-up field mark: the Federation of Planets blue-ish wedge between bottom two and the third inner orange spots. Compare with:
The orange boulder wall of the Black Swallowtail.
And a new species for me. The Common Checkered-Skipper’s common name suggests its commonness across its North American range, but I’ve never spotted one before. Rare for NYC: a couple iNaturalist reports for both Governor’s and Ward’s Islands; several in The Bronx; one in Queens; none on Staten Island. This is the first iNaturalist record for Brooklyn, and the 36th butterfly species on my Kings County list. Beautiful inner wings hinted at above… but my battery ran out just then! By the time I reloaded, it was gone. Unlike the clouds of Tawny-edged Skippers around this intensely perfumed buddleia that flutter up like in a casting call for Garcia Marquez when a truck rumbles by and then settle right back down again in the sugar when the truck is gone.


More Monarch eggs! On common milkweed, in a couple of different spots in Green-Wood and Bush Terminal Park.

I’ve yet to spot a caterpillar, but this poop is suggestive.


Red Admiral.
Orange Sulphur.
Clouded Sulphur.
Black Swallowtail.
Spicebush Swallowtail.
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail.
Question Mark.
Red Hairstreak.
Fiery Skipper (male).
Eastern Tailed-blue.
Summer Azure.
Sachem (female left, male right).

Tiger Swallowtail

A couple of caterpillars of the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly.
When they are in their early stages or instars, they look a bit like bird turds.
But when you look closer, your larger-than-average predator brain will note some curiosities. The “eyes” are fake, by the way.(Some caterpillars pretend to be twigs…)
As they get older, the caterpillars get greener, blending into the leaves.
The final instar looks like a cigar stub! I haven’t seen one of these lately, but some years ago I met one on the sidewalk.

There photographs were taken over a period of a week and half, all on the same sweetbay magnolia. Not sure how many individuals these represent. I never saw more than two at a time, but there were a lot of leaves out of eye-sight.

Monarch Eggs

Monarch butterfly laying an egg on an emergent common milkweed leaf on Sunday in Green-Wood. This little plant is an outlier from the patch here, in danger of being mown or “weeded,” alas.
I also watched her deposit eggs on two much taller, already flowering, plants that were part of the official patch.
Closer up, you can see that the tiny eggs are grooved.

Do they ever lay more than one egg per plant? How many eggs per female? Is there anything stopping other Monarchs from laying on the same plant?

The Return of Monarchy

Saw my first Monarch Butterfly yesterday. A male. Nectaring on milkweed in Green-Wood.

Homero Gómez González

At home, the oligarchs poison us slowly, with more shit in the food supply, more sewage in the waterways, more pollution in the air, water, and soil. Trump and his monstrous allies stand for profits over people, very much at the expense of our lives. (Their cultists, the Fascist Fifth of the population, are seemingly eager to sacrifice themselves and their children for their masters’ cause.) Other life forms are even more expendable.

Abroad, the capitalist gangsters are more direct and upfront with their murders. The Monarch Butterfly advocate Homero Gómez González has been found dead after missing for two weeks. He was murdered by gangsters and/or illegal loggers, essentially one and the same where illicit businesses are entities of organized crime.

Consumer demand, for drugs, lumber, avocados, much of it from the U.S., drive Mexico’s violent kleptocracy.

Know what you’re buying; look before you leap into complicity. The horrors are usually hidden away behind the packaging and the advertising, so start with the assumption that the corporate entity is a criminal enterprise. One simple act of refusal is to not sell you eyes to the Stuporbowl. A second is to stop using Amazon.

Gómez’s video of massing butterflies are mesmerizing.

The murder of environmentalists and other dissenters is standard operating procedure in authoritarian regimes. The Republican Party, and the props and fools who vote for them, are moving us in this direction every day.


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