My life is about living with nature – here you can live it with me!

Butterflies at the Birdathon

American Lady
American Lady

Most people think that birdathons are just for the birds! Well this year team T-bird also kept track of the butterflies that were flying while helping with the Jamestown Audubon fundraiser. We ended up with 15 species of butterflies and I had 2 first of the year butterflies. OK, I guess at this point I have become too much of a lister!!!

Juvenal's Duskywing
Juvenal’s Duskywing

  1. Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
  2. Spicebush Swallowtail (CHECK)
  3. Cabbage White
  4. West Virginia White
  5. Orange Sulphur
  6. Clouded Sulphur
  7. Spring Azure
  8. Meadow Fritillary
  9. Pearl Crescent
  10. Eastern Comma
  11. American Lady
  12. Mourning Cloak
  13. Juvenal Duskywing
  14. Dreamy Duskywing (CHECK)
  15. Hobomonk Skipper

Meadow Fritillary
Meadow Fritillary

Spicebush Swallowtail
Spicebush Swallowtail

Spring Azure
Spring Azure


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30 responses

  1. Marg

    Oh such pretty shots Tom!

    When I’ve seen butterflies I haven’t had time to shoot them-soon though

    22 May 2008 at 8:25 pm

  2. I have seen just a few butterflies so far. I can’t wait for the Monarchs to come back, when is that? Maybe I’ll be able to see plenty of butterflies the next weekend at the Pilgrimage.

    22 May 2008 at 8:57 pm

  3. Lisa at Greenbow

    What great pictures Mon@rch, especially the Duskywing. I haven’t seen many butterflies this spring. I think the wet and cooler than normal weather has slowed their coming out.

    22 May 2008 at 9:03 pm

  4. What’s the trick to photographing butterflies? Whenever I get close they either close their wings or fly away.

    22 May 2008 at 9:16 pm

  5. Wow, these are ridiculous shots. Awesome. Nice sighting on the Dreamy Duskywing. It’s a tough find here in NJ. What lens are you using for the butterflies?

    22 May 2008 at 10:56 pm

  6. Beautiful image! I’ve not seen the butterfly here yet..waiting anxiously!

    22 May 2008 at 11:15 pm

  7. What an amazing time. You all saw and documented so very much. I want to be a member of the T-Bird team!

    22 May 2008 at 11:29 pm

  8. Grace

    How can we hate dandelions when they make such beautiful backdrops for the butterflies.

    22 May 2008 at 11:36 pm

  9. Tom, Did you know that butterflies love white stones? They like to warm up on them. I have a bunch of them and always water them in the Summer for them to get a drink off of to.
    Great pictures. ~Nita~

    23 May 2008 at 12:13 am

  10. I’ve not seen a ton of them here yet either. Just the occasional flutterby. :c)

    23 May 2008 at 6:36 am

  11. @ Marg – Thanks and it has been nice seeing them!
    @ Linda – Shouldn’t be too long before more are flying! Pilgrimage will have many butterflies flying!
    @ Lisa – thanks and it has been a wet spring here also!
    @ Lynne – the trick is waiting for them to return and not give up on them.
    @ Patrick – thanks and I enjoy photographing butterflies. We see many Dreamy Duskywings but the dominant Duskywing is the Juv. I am using my point and shoot and my 400mm. I prefer using my point and shoot for the best shot.
    @ naturegirl – Thanks and should be flying soon.
    @ Trixie – thanks and I have a neat flower to post here next.
    @ Grace – Thanks and they are good backdrops!
    @ Nita – Didn’t know that but I do now! I think that is great you water the rocks for them! Thanks
    @ Jayne – We found these guys after the 13 hours of birding! Thanks

    23 May 2008 at 7:20 am

  12. Pam

    Very nice, Tom! And I think you helped me id one of the butterflies I saw last week that I haven’t taken the time to id yet! Juvenal’s Duskywing! Thanks!

    23 May 2008 at 8:44 am

  13. You sure got a truck-load of butterflies! Love the Meadow Fritillary shot! Beautiful!

    23 May 2008 at 9:18 am

  14. We get a variety here also but I always see the ones I can’t identify quickly when I don’t have my camera. I do better with flowers, at least they stay in one place. Love your pictures and stories.

    23 May 2008 at 9:33 am

  15. Those are magnificent photos, Tom. You are seeing so many more butterflies than we are this year, so far. I’m hoping that here on the northern coast of California we’ll have an even greater variety than we had on the Olympic Peninsula.

    23 May 2008 at 10:25 am

  16. I would be very excited to see a Spicebush Swallowtail. I’ve seen a few Red Admirals and Sulphurs so far, but maybe once the temps are back in the 70′s this weekend, I will start seeing more butterflies. Many of the trees (crabapple, apple, plum, etc.) are in full bloom right now, so the butterflies can take advantage of the nectar bounty.

    23 May 2008 at 10:36 am

  17. oh wow I wish I could see more butterflies. Awesome photos.

    23 May 2008 at 11:06 am

  18. Multitasking I see. I can’t believe you managed to see all these butterflies and keep track of the birds at once!

    23 May 2008 at 3:59 pm

  19. Very lovely!

    23 May 2008 at 4:56 pm

  20. Gorgeous shots. We are heading to Letchworth this weekend I think, spur of the moment trip. Hope to get some good shots.

    23 May 2008 at 9:29 pm

  21. @ Pam – Thanks. Watch those Duskywings they can be real tricky!
    @ Bird Girl – I had an alright day but if this was more of a butterfly count we probably would have done better! Thanks
    @Martha – Thanks and let me suggest the Kenn Kaufman guide to help when in the field! But I agree that photos do help me with ID’s sometimes also!
    @ Robin – it helps when I know where to look for them!
    @ Ruthie – Thanks and we don’t see many of them around. I also feel that butterflies will be more visual this weekend with warmer temps!
    @ Toni – maybe next weekend?
    @ Scienceguy – LOL, isn’t hard to do when you keep your checklist handy!
    @ Bird Lady, thanks
    @ Amy – Letchworth sounds like a busy place this weekend! Actually Allegany is already a busy place! Thanks

    23 May 2008 at 10:45 pm

  22. Dear Tom,
    Wonderful shots of so many butterflies. I have had a few in my gardens this spring. I enjoy the butterflies very much. I planted 10 spice bushes last year for the spice bush swallowtails. I think they are beautiful butterflies! Always a pleasure to see your pictures. I think it is exciting when I get great pictures. You always have remarkable ones.
    I enjoyed seeing all the Warblers too. Nature is amazing, so much variety.
    Birds, bugs and blooms…life is very good.
    Sherry

    23 May 2008 at 11:53 pm

  23. Oh I love your butterflies! There’s something so amazing about them: delicate but powerful! Thanks for the great pics!

    24 May 2008 at 12:02 pm

  24. I have no idea what the wonderful secret you and Montucky share for getting butterfly shots but I have to tell you I really stink at that. I think the only ones I get are ones that are perhaps more mellow than most. All I do know for sure is I’m thrilled I can live vicariously through both of your eyes! :) These are Gorgeous!!!!!!

    24 May 2008 at 5:36 pm

  25. It sounds like you are falling into the BFO trap! That’s Beautiful Flying Objects, birds, butterflies and dragonflies. Frankly it’s not that bad , I got hooked a few years back. One way to tell if you are hooked on BFO’s is you start making lists! Hope this info helps you to understand the love of BFO’s. I first heard the term BFO’s used by Bryan Pfeiffer in Vermont, who was the first person I know that had the BFO love. Like Bryan you share you love of the BFO’s on your blog and that’s what makes your blog is so great!

    24 May 2008 at 8:13 pm

  26. I have to ditto what Lynne said: “What’s the trick to photographing butterflies? Whenever I get close they either close their wings or fly away.” That happened to me yesterday while out on a trail. And it happens here at home. I thought it was difficult to get photos of birds, but bees and butterflies just don’t cooperate – and Tom, they don’t return! lol, ;o)

    24 May 2008 at 8:30 pm

  27. NatureShutterbug

    Very nice butterfly pics. I really like the Spicebush Swallowtail. I have seen butterflies on outings this year – dominated by Variable Checkerspot – there must have been hundreds of Checkerspots spread out over a particular 5-mile stretch of road. When I saw something different it was exciting. Hopefully, I’ll get to post a few butterfly pictures next week.

    24 May 2008 at 11:25 pm

  28. @ Sherry – thanks and glad you are finding butterflies! Must be good having different communities there!
    @ Chicago – thanks for your kind words!
    @ aullori – I don’t normally chase and just watch. 75% of the time they will return to the spot they were spooked if you stand still. So they end up landing right next to my feet and I slowly bring the point and shoot camera in! On occasion I will also use the 400mm which is helpful for those who probably will not return to the same spot!
    @ Peter – Actually I had fallen for this trap back around the year 2000 and if you look the top of this page you will see a lep page that talks about the Butterfly studies that we are doing. Hope to work on our paper we will be publishing here soon! Also part the reason for having a butterfly user name! But for sure my specialty are birds.
    @ Mary- just watching them and let them get close to you is my trick! Point and shoot lets you move your hand in close for the picture! DSLR’s unless using a telephoto is tough to capture macro shots! Don’t chase and they will retrun!
    @ NatureShutterbug – Thanks and Very cool butterflies! Thanks for sharing!

    25 May 2008 at 9:12 am

  29. Lists are great. I don’t know how many times Martha and I have gone back to old, old list to answer a question.

    Great photos and a great post.

    I try to visit regularily, but don’t always leave comments. Too many good blogs and so little time.

    Alaska Sunday is Posted.
    Come visit,
    Troy and Martha

    25 May 2008 at 6:35 pm

  30. Great shots and a nice day of butterflies – I’ve been seeing a disturbing shortage of them and odonata down here. I’m getting concerned – this is the second year in a row of late starts for both.

    28 May 2008 at 8:39 am

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