First Butterfly Of The Season

Judy saw this guy sunning himself on some dead leaves in the driveway bed.

Mourning Cloak butterfly
Mourning Cloak butterfly. This guy is pretty well camouflaged, we almost missed him.

Pretty sure it’s a Mourning Cloak. Any butterfly enthusiasts out there care to confirm or contradict this ID? I read a little bit about Mourning Cloaks here. Apparently these butterflies are one of the few that can live through the cold winters of the American midwest. They do this by going into a kind of hibernation called diapause.

Morning Cloaks have a variety of host plants. One of them is the common hackberry (Celtis occidentalis). I have a hackberry growing in my parkway. I’d like to think this Mourning Cloak was eating the leaves of my hackberry when it was in its caterpillar stage.

38 Comments on “First Butterfly Of The Season”

  1. I was thrilled to see two butterflies this weekend, the first of the season. The first was a lovely yellow Brimstone, the second flitting past so fast as I was coming out the door that I dont know what it was but I was pleased to see it anyway

  2. Our weather bureau says we might be getting 38C today, but 36.6C was yesterday. In these temps which we are experiencing just this year, our butterflies are dwindling from the normal habitats. They are also difficult to photograph now.

  3. I doubt that these beauties exist over here. I saw my first ‘proper’ butterfly today too, a peacock. By proper I mean that it stopped long enough to let me admire it. Also, the martins have arrived and I am sure I heard a cuckoo calling. (I am sure our flora and fauna are not only different but observe different time tables)

    Thanks for the book recommendations. I know and like Oates already. I’ve already read several Russos, Nobody’s Fool amongst them. But there are quite a few to go. I hadn’t heard of the third writer, I shall explore him.

  4. Hooray for seeing the butterfly, they are easily missed. I just read through your previous posts, you certainly have had a wild spring! I am jealous of your Virginia bluebells, I bought one and it is tiny right now. Hoping mine will survive the season and return next year doubled or tripled in size. I also got a Chionanthus virginicus this spring (Valentine’s present) and while mine isn’t as tall as yours, I am sure it will go gangbusters this spring. Awaiting its blooms (which should be any time now as others in town have started blooming).

  5. Hi Jason, that butterfly merges quite well with the ground! It turned very warm and sunny last week here and I saw several butterflies about the garden, from red admirals to cabbage whites. I’m not sure what they eat at this time of year though, I’d like to plant something for them to snack on right now – do you know of any plants I could use?

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