Week 12

Florida Week 12

Ahh, the Everglades - snakes, Cypress swamps, gators, wading birds - seductive names like Okefenokee, Okaloacoochee, Fakahatchee.  There aren’t many butterflies in the deep swamp forest, but it’s a magical place, so I took time nearly every day for solitary walks or bike rides away from the crowded tourist trails.  A 6.5 mi. hike in Fakahatchee Strand Preserve began with a half-mile of semi-open pine prairie with blooming thistle and assorted nectaring skippers, followed by 6 miles of dense forest with a few birds, snakes (a cottonmouth!), and a face-full of spider webs every few feet.  The Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary seemed very dry - only a small section of the elevated boardwalk was actually over water.  Along the walkway in late afternoon, my tired psyche was lifted by occasional flutterings of ruddy daggerwing, zebra longwing, and gulf fritillary.

Twenty new species is a pretty good week, but there are still many Florida specialties to chase down . . . when I return from a two-week respite to visit family in CA and AZ.  My camper, which I’ve named Chalcedona, is quite cozy, but that 3 ft. x 10 ft. space becomes confining after several weeks of travel.  

So today (Wednesday) I stowed Chalcedona at the Miami airport and flew to Phoenix to visit my sister Lynn in Buckeye, AZ.  Of course, her home is only two hours away from the butterfly canyons of Tucson . . . 

New Species:  Polydamas Swallowtail Battus polydamas, Orange-barred Sulphur Phoebis philea, Dina Yellow Pyrisitia dina, Fulvous Hairstreak Electrostrymon angelia, Little Metalmark Calephelis virginiensis, Mangrove Buckeye Junonia genoveva, Ruddy Daggerwing Marpesia petreus, Georgia Satyr Neonympha areolatus, Mangrove Skipper Phocides pigmalion, Silver-spotted Skipper Epargyreus clarus, Dorantes Longtail Urbanus dorantes, Northern Cloudywing Thorybes pylades, Three-spotted Skipper Cymaenes tripunctus, Baracoa Skipper Polites baracoa, Delaware Skipper Anatrytone logan, Palatka Skipper Euphyes pilatka, Monk Skipper Asbolis capucinus, Twin-spot Skipper Oligoria maculata, Salt Marsh Skipper Panoquina panoquin, Obscure Skipper Panoquina panoquinoides, 

New Species:  20     Total trip species:  136     Species Photographed:  123

Highlight Species: Zebra longwing, Polydamas swallowtail, Baracoa skipper

Some butterflies of the Fairchild Gardens near downtown Miami: copulating zebra longwings, nectaring Polydamas swallowtail, and the tiny Baracoa skipper 

© Chris Tenney 2014