My title is from the opening line of an article in the Washington Post by Darryl Fears, published in the Syracuse Post Standard, a local newspaper, on 9July13. Fears connects the health of butterfly populations with that of the environmental with alarming statistics and quotes from experts around the country. Habitat loss, pesticides and other mortality factors are decimating butterfly populations. Nineteen species and subspecies are now listed as endangered or threatened in the U.S. alone; at least one species and two subspecies are presumed to be gone. I think that means forever.
I spend a lot of time observing and photographing butterflies and feel compelled to engage in this environmental wake-up call by blogging about my butterfly experiences in the Northeast, largely New York state. July is butterfly month. I’ve see six or eight species in as many days (a lot for this area), nectaring, perching, chasing and breeding in meadows and brush lots.
Baltimore Checkerspot, perching on an unoccupied songbird nest box.
My first dedicated butterfly post features the Baltimore Checkerspot (Euphydryas phaeton), one of the more abundant and accessible species in early July.
Baltimore Checkerspot caterpillars on Valerian (Valeriana officinalis), an alien wildflower
Baltimore Checkerspot; emergence coincides with the bloom of Knapweed (Centaurea; the pinkish glow in the background)
A pair of Baltimore Checkerspots; they’ve just perched together following an aerial chase/courtship and are about to mate
Baltimore Checkerspots, mating
Turtlehead (Snapdragon family; Chelone glabra); wetland wildflower; preferred species for adult egg-laying and caterpillar feeding.
Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.