Posts Tagged ‘migrate’

Cloudless Sulphur

Cloudless sulphur (Phoebis sennae ebule0)

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I just happened to be in the yard at the right time to see this cloudless sulphur land on a hosta flower. They are one of the few butterflies that visit tube flowers. They also visit moist places, which can be dramatic if their numbers are high. Several other butterfly species visit damp places too, having what’s called a “puddle party.”

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The butterfly changed position and left only seconds later. They are not able to survive our winters and migrate south in late summer and fall.

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A Short Morning Hike

So many of the blogs I follow have posted ones showing beautiful fall colors. I greatly enjoyed each one and was quite envious.

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I was on the road that led to Eagle Mountain, where Buffy and I hiked a lot. The road is treacherous now with washed-out places that could flip a vehicle. Needless to say, we haven’t gone up there in over a year.

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Buffy has a hurt hind leg. My husband watched her while I drove a loop over to Stone Face. The turkey vultures were apparently gathering and heading southeast.

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Obviously, they didn’t take time to pose for pictures. A wider angle picture would’ve shown nearly 40 of them.

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If these aren’t called pixie cups, they should be.

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A fresh buckeye butterfly landed on the edge of the dry creek. It will soon migrate south, because they don’t overwinter as far north as southern Illinois.

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Here’s another picture to show off the fading fall colors.

Hopefully, they will be brilliant next fall.

A Cloudless Sulphur Butterfly

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The last cloudless sulphur butterfly (Phoebis sennae eubule) I saw was on September 29.

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It preferred the red salvia flowers.

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They migrate north through the summer to breed and return to the south in the fall. This translates into their numbers varying yearly.

Eastern Kingbird

Eastern kingbird

This afternoon was partly sunny, with strong west winds blowing at 17, gusting to 28. I did a loop drive to take pictures of the “mountains” for a future blog. Buffy and I ended up at Ingram Hill to do our usual loop walk around the cemetery.

A male eastern bluebird perched on the wire, a mockingbird perched on a tombstone, and an eastern kingbird on a shepard’s hook. Eastern kingbirds are in a family of birds known as flycatchers. Flycatchers perch on bare branches and fly out to catch flying insects.

We have 9 species of flycatchers here in southern Illinois; 5 of them stay here during the summer and the other 4 that migrate through during spring and fall. The kingbirds began returning in mid April and will migrate south the latter part of September.

I mostly see kingbirds perched on fence posts along country roadsides. To me they look like they’re wearing a tuxedo with their dark wings, back and tail. They have a white belly and white band across the end of their tail. They are 8″ long from end of beak to tip of tail. The white band is usually quite distinctive, except the shadows hide it my picture.

Perterson Fieldguide to Eastern Birds lists their habitat as wood edges, river groves, farms, orchards, roadsides, fence rows and wires.  Their breeding range covers roughly south central Canada to Gulf of Mexico and east to the coast. They winter from Peru to Bolivia.

It always amazes me how birds can migrate as far as they do — how an 8-inch bird can fly almost to the middle of South America! I wonder how long that takes?