Sunday, November 3, 2013

Tired November Butterflies

It's now the beginning of November and still the rains have not come to Fresno with any sort of confidence. Our days are very pleasant in the 70's and the nights hardly get into the 40's. This is not unusual. Very often the first rains don't come until around Thanksgiving time, or even later. What this means for many of the late summer and fall insects is that they continue their lives without finding a place to over-winter, or of succumbing to the elements.  They linger and they get worn out by their long lives.

Here is a gray hairstreak (Strymon melinus) that Kathy and I ran into along the path by Cottonwood Park yesterday while we were out enjoying the warm weather. It has lost much of its delicate wing "tail" and many of its cloudy gray scales - still a beautiful butterfly but clearly tired out.

The common buckeye (Junonia coenia) was also out along the narrow stream bank in the patches of flowering mint. I was amazed that such a worn-out creature could still fly.

There is also a catchment basin by the park with a gathering of waterfowl. A snowy egret (Egretta thula) was kind enough to fly close enough for a picture. I was impressed by the striking yellow markings on the face and legs when seen up close.

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