Friday, April 23, 2010

Earth Day Flutter

I celebrated Earth Day with a group of strangers who treated me as a friend.  My friend, Pat, invited me to accompany the Mountwood Bird Club on their yearly trip up Newell's Run in Ohio, near the Ohio River. I wanted to go because this particular trip would focus on wildflowers more than birds.  It was a good choice. The scent of spring touched our noses as we scanned hillsides and ditches along the rural winding road.  We found over twenty species of wildflowers over a ten-mile area, all within view of our cars.

One of the most interesting finds, though, was a small rabble of butterflies. 
As we drove in our short caravan, one of our drivers spotted the rabble.  Something had piqued the interest of swallowtails gathering on a dirt side road, just past  where it forded a small stream. The group, also called a flutter, were intent on what they had found, the spot invisible to our mere human senses.
Among the group were tiger swallowtails. Each black abdomen and thorax was adorned by a pair of creamy yellow wings, striped black then accented by light blue shadow and an orange spot at the base of its abdomen.
The Tigers were joined by Spicebush Swallowtails deep, soft black with white spots along its wing edges and burnt orange spots dotting its hindwing.
A third butterfly in the rabble was a Zebra Swallowtail with its definitive black and white stripes and those two intriguing ret dots.  There weren't as many Zebras as there were Tigers and Spicebush but they held their own in the group. 
While some of the group vied for the best spot, others seemed content to stretch out in the dust and enjoy the sun.
We watched the convergence for about twenty minutes before moving on to search out new wildflowers and bird songs, all of our senses alert to sounds, sights and smells as our Earth celebrated her day in her own way.


me ann my camera said...

Your pictures are wonderful, especially the first one! It is totally delightful! Great photo capture! Ann

Nellie from Beyond My Garden said...

Thanks Ann, It was hard to leave the spot to go find flowers. nellie

NCmountainwoman said...

I've always wanted to see a flutter like that. Great photographs of such a nice Earth Day.

Leah said...

does this "pat" character happen to be my bird crazy dad? hehe

Nellie from Beyond My Garden said...

Leah, oh yeah, lucky me.

CanadianGardenJoy said...

What a wonderful way to celebrate Earth Day !
I had no idea about what a group of butterflies like that would be called : ) For now on I will call them a rabble ! .. I hope to see them in a group like that some day ?

Nellie from Beyond My Garden said...

I think flutter is more common and rabble is older. I prefer rabble.

Anonymous said...

Wow - I'm proud to say I could actually identify the species in the photo before I read what you said about them. Very cool to find so many butterflies together like that!

Kirigalpoththa said...

These pictures are great and the butterflies are very attractive!
The flutter I saw was similar but a different specie.

Thanks for the explanations :)