Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Butterflies in Cape May

Not only were birds plentiful this weekend in Cape May, but the butterflies were out in force too. One of the specialties at Belleplain State Forest and parts of Cape May are the Elfins: Brown Elfin, Pine Elfin, and Henry's Elfin. This Henry's Elfin below was photographed at Higbee Beach. Sorry for the poor quality. This thing is the size of a nickel! We did not see any of the other elfins unfortunately.


Belleplain was overloaded with Juvenal's Duskywings. The Duskywings, like the Skippers, are akin to the gulls and shorebirds of the butterfly world. They are all, more or less, some shade of gray with a miscellaneous pattern of some other shade of gray. They're made a bit easier if you know which ones are flying at what times of the year. This time of year, Juvenal's are the only ones with a small vertical line of white spots at the leading edge of the forewing. Note that this species is named for the Roman poet, Juvenal. The name is no indication of the age of the butterfly, although several people asked this understandable question!


We had several other species of butterfly including American Lady (below), Orange and Clouded Sulphur, and Mourning Cloak. While eating lunch at the Forsythe Refuge, I found a Falcate Orangetip doing its best Cabbage White impression. It was too quick to photograph, but it was a first for NJ for me.

2 comments:

Born Again Bird Watcher said...

We're still pretty butterfly-free here in Oregon yet. Only one day really compatible with their lifestyles. Oh, to be in Cape May...

Jochen said...

Hmmm, second Cape May post and still neither bones nor crushed turtle shells.
Seems you're not delivering, Patrick.
The b'flies are nice though, always are.