Butterflies – Little Pine State Park, Pennsylvania
Question Mark butterfly (Polygonia interrogationis)May 5, 2012 – On our earlier walk along the Lake Shore Trail, I had seen plenty of butterflies but only a few had been kind enough to alight somewhere convenient to photograph them. I had seen a number of different species flitting about around the embankment of the Little Pine Dam so decided that that would be a good place to visit again.
Most of the people at the campsite are more interested in the trout fishing than in the butterflies, so I was one of only a few people walking around without a fishing license attached somewhere to my clothing. Rather interesting to see fishermen, young and old, walking around with large tags attached to their hats.
All fishermen have stories about the one that they caught, or the one that got away, and on my way to the embankment I had plenty of time to talk about my own adventures and hear about the adventures of others. One young boy had just caught his first Rainbow Trout and was certainly excited. I’m sure that he would have something to say to his teacher in answer to the “How did you spend your weekend” question once he got back to the classroom. The fish was released back into the rushing waters below the dam as soon as the picture was taken so hopefully it survived to be caught another day.
From a distance, I could see lots of butterfly activity around a certain bush, so I headed up the steep embankment. The climbing was a bit tricky because the embankment was basically a large rock pile at the bottom with just a bit of grass and bushes growing in between the rocks closer to the top. There was definitely no shade and the temperature was about +30C. I don’t know what type of bush it was but its sweet smelling blossoms were certainly attracting plenty of bees and butterflies.
To photograph the following butterflies, I had to stand on a steep hillside and be patient knowing that, the next day, my legs would be tired, even though I was just standing in one place and not going anywhere. It is definitely not easy to stand on a steep slope and wait for the butterflies to come back to your side of the bush :-). A bit easier, I think, than climbing to the top, but my legs say otherwise.
Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)
American Painted Lady (Vanessa virginiensis) (lighter one is older and has lost some scales)
Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)
Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus) There were plenty of other butterfly species flying around the embankment, such as Cabbage Whites, Clouded Sulphurs, a Black Swallowtail, Spring Azures and assorted LBJs, but getting them to settle anywhere near the camera was not going to happen on this particular day.
As I was heading back to my tent area, past the Tree Swallow guarding the river crossing :-), I stopped to talk to some campers who showed me pictures that they had taken of a black bear visiting on the porch of their cottage. A Common Sootywing kept returning to a carpet that they had laid on the ground, so once again I was down on my knees.
Common Sootywing (Pholisora catullus)
Another interesting outing. Another interesting day.