Sunday, April 27, 2014

Butterflies of Shawnee

 Some of the best of spring butterflies can be found at Shawnee State Park and Forest.  Fortunately, this weekend I got to help lead trips for the 10th Annual OOS Conference with a couple of excellent butterfly experts.

Falcate Orange-tip 
One of our earliest lepidopteran fliers in Ohio, the Falcate Orange-tips can be quite a challenge to photograph.  It usually involves much running and shouting.  We were pretty lucky this day.

Leah beams upon her first Falcate Orange-tip
One young conference attendee, seemed to have a mesmerizing effect on the little bugs.  Leah is a Zane State student of one of our keynote speakers, Scott Albaugh.  She has a real love of butterflies and spent several years monitoring them at The Wilds.

 Dean and Patty look on as leader Troy Shively displays a salamander for the group.  Sam (in green) was ultimately the luckiest guy at the conference, and now a big fan of conservation!  We filled the cooler early morning hours with birding and salamandering, until it was warm enough for the butterflies to fly.

Dave Horn displays his belt net-carry system.
 Dave Reipenhoff and Dave Horn also led this trip.  We were flush with butterflying talent!  Dave Horn is a retired professor OSU entomology professor with degrees from Harvard.  We soon enjoyed some friendly banter about his Ivy League education being far more impressive than my "poison ivy" league degree!

Henry's Elfin
 We found another southern Ohio specialty butterfly, the diminutive Henry's Elfin.  We were able to find a total of ten or more for the tour.  Henry's are what we call "rare but locally-common."  Once you develop a search image for them, one can find them in good numbers, where they occur.  Their host plant is the Eastern Redbud, which was in full bloom for our conference along many forest roads.

Thanks to my fellow guides, we had a great time and amassed a respectable list of both birds and butterflies. Let's not wait ten years before we do it again!

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