Wednesday, July 29, 2015

red-banded hairstreak ~~ stalking butterflies at the conservancy

Several species of the gossamer-wing butterflies can be found in the area. They are about the size of your thumb nail or smaller, but each is striking in appearance. The tiny butterflies which generally flutter around closer to the ground looking like crazy flashes of blue are the more common azures and tailed-blues. One of their less common cousins surprised me at my front door yesterday -- a red-banded hairstreak.

The rarer juniper hairstreak has been reported at the Mount Pleasant section of the Howard County Conservancy. Some members of our butterfly survey group met there last Saturday to look for butterflies, and we counted dragonflies, too, as part of a county survey of those insects being held that day. We didn't see any juniper hairstreaks, but we found another gossamer-wing, the American copper. Much more abundant were the larger butterflies, especially the swallowtails -- very encouraging to see after concerns about lower numbers. The group counter 35 tiger swallowtails. A much lower count for monarchs was made -- 7 in all -- but that's a few more than the one I have seen in Town Center so far this summer.

I took a lot of photos of the Conservancy walk, including some scenery and a couple of the few dragonflies spotted there. Here is a link to an album on Flickr: Butterfly and Dragonfly Walk