Posts Tagged ‘Arctic blast’

Surviving Arctic-like Winters

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The red-spotted purple butterfly overwinters as a 3rd instar caterpillar.

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Will the caterpillars survive the one Arctic blast after another that we’re having this winter?

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I went out this afternoon to check where I knew four red-spotted caterpillars were hibernating.  A predator had chewed into the side of each hibernaculum and gotten every  caterpillar.

Then I remembered the overwintering adult butterflies in our area —

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mourning cloak,

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eastern comma,

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and question mark,

  They spend the winter in places like under loose bark. One cold winter I watched a golden crowned kinglet flitting around in a cedar tree. It came out with a question mark butterfly. I remember hearing and watching it knocking the butterfly on a limb to break its wings off.

Butterflies and moths overwinter in different stages of their metamorphosis — egg, caterpillar, chrysalis/pupa and adult. It will be interesting to see population numbers next summer.

Anyway, I wonder if there is a limit to how cold they can tolerate?

Hmmmm– Running Water

What a difference one day makes — this morning windchill at – 4 from another Arctic blast.

The sun shone yesterday (Monday) and temperature reached 50.

Buffy and I hadn’t hiked lately because of the Arctic weather and the last of the deer seasons. We headed to Eagle Mountain (a ridge of hills on the eastern side of southern Illinois.)

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Water actually ran in upper parts of the creek and dropped underground in the lower areas where the creek widened considerably.

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Ripples created the most fascinating yellow-edged shadows.

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Bubbles distorted the shapes they reflected.

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Melting ice remained on a small north-facing sandstone outcroping.

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At least I can walk back through my memories of this hike while the frigid winds blow again outside.