Leon is away celebrating a friend's birthday on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. Months before the birthday celebration was arranged, I had agreed to teach a butterfly course for the Morton Arboretum's Naturalist Certificate Program. The first of two field experiences had been scheduled for yesterday. Consequently, Leon is in Washington and I'm here.
I was looking forward to teaching the course until yesterrday morning. The day dawned cloudy. Before I left the house, it began to rain. There are few things that I hate more than trying to give a butterfly walk or workshop when the weather is bad. Of course you don't see any butterflies, and I'm left trying to talk my way though the event. When I got to the Fen, most of the class was there. We discussed the possibility of setting a rain date. I suggested that we wait the 20 minutes until the scheduled start of the class to let the stragglers show up, and then we could make the decision. At 10 on the dot, the last students shoed up, and the sky began to clear. This seems to be a theme with me lately.
Eyed Brown Caterpillar
It turned out to be a good day for butterflies. We saw everything that I hoped to, and had a few surprises. We saw a dogface butterfly. These are hard to photograph- even BugGuide does not currently have a picture. A member of the class found a caterpillar on his leg. It turned out to be an eyed brown- one of the nice wetland butterflies that we were also seeing adults of. On one of our kames, the pale purple coneflower was putting on an amazing display.
The Large Kame at Bluff Spring Fen
The floral display on the kame led me to go out to Rockford today to see Rogers Prairie. Rogers was the inspiration for trying to get more species diversity onto our kames. Unfortunately, Rogers Prairie is now closed to the public- though it now is enjoying full protection from damage. I visited nearby, and very similar, Harlem Hills Prairie instead.
Harlem Hills Prairie
The purple coneflower is the really conspicuous plant. There were some great insects on both it and the roses that are also blooming.
Rose Chafer. Yes, I know it's on Purple Coneflower.
Unidentified Chrysomelid beetle feeding on sumac leaves
Dinner was a large slab of beef on the grill. Leon doesn't care for that, so I'm pleasing myself tonight.