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Very few butterflies - Phil's Rambling Rants
June 21st, 2008
05:18 pm

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Very few butterflies
I walked around Lake Mingo today.  It had obviously been extremely wet there recently, but things had dried out just enough that almost all of the muddy patches were just soft without being sticky.  The mosquitoes were awful; I did use DEET but it seemed to have completely worn off by the last couple of miles.  A wee bit of rain, but I'd prepared for it by making sure I wasn't carrying anything that would be much hurt by getting wet (I left my wallet and phone in the car).  And after the rain stopped, it got a wee bit warm.  The weather report says the humidity is low, but right by a body of water after a rain, I think the local dew point was well above that at the airport where the official readings are taken.  I was wearing a day pack so that I could carry a lunch, which I enjoyed on the bluff overlooking the lake about 2 miles after the nominal start of the loop.  Unfortunately, even with a light pack I want to keep my shirt on, and I would have been a lot more comfortable without either the pack or the shirt on my back.  I need to look into getting a bigger belt pack that I could carry a lunch in, because it's going to be a lot hotter on most of my walks this summer.

The screwy weather we've had this spring has really hit the butterfly population.  This far into the year, there ought to be plenty of butterflies, but there are only a few around.  A few red admirals, but going through so much good habitat I should have seen dozens.  I did have 3 or 4 giant fritillaries, and got fairly close to a couple -- so pretty.  (No camera, due to threat of rain, so no pictures.)  Even the sulfurs, usually too common to even really pay attention to, are almost non-existent.

The most interesting critter sighting was a good sized snake.  My snake identification skills are weak, but I'm pretty sure he was a black ratsnake.  Close to three feet long, plain dark gray (not really black), and seemed to be giving me a little of the fake rattle as he oozed into a hole.  I was quite close enough that I could have grabbed him if I'd been inclined to do so -- but fortunately for the snake, I'm not a snake eating creature.

ETA: I forgot to mention that I saw a bright yellow warbler with dark wings briefly on the path. I just remember to look in the bird book and he's definitely a Prothonotary Warbler. I didn't realize they were with us in the summer, but the range map says they do breed here.

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