WDEL Blog: Eclectic Hobbies with Allan Loudell

Butterflies out signal the long-awaited Spring!

I don't know about you, but this past winter seemed to linger forever!

Yes, we'd get a few warmer days, but then the overnight mercury would plunge again below freezing.

But a sure sign of moderating conditions: I saw my first butterfly of 2011 driving Thursday along Airport Road. For once, it wasn't a Cabbage White, but a Clouded Sulphur, one of the yellow ones.

Since our warmer days this year have so far occurred on weekdays - when I'm usually working at WDEL, and in no position to check out a state park! - I called Jim White at the Delaware Nature Center, who ventures outside nearly every day.

Jim saw a Question Mark (an orangish butterfly which overwinters as an adult) and a bluish Spring Azure a few days ago near the nature center.

I have the impression the many cold days (and especially nights) have delayed the emergence of many critters this year. I asked Jim about that.

In his specialty - reptiles and amphibians - he figures emergence has been just slightly delayed. Wood frogs, toads, etc.

(Jim co-authored the book, AMPHIBIANS & REPTILES of DELMARVA, with his wife, Amy.)

If you want to make your visits to our state parks more productive, I recommend carrying that book, along with a few other field guides, depending on your interests!

Posted at 6:58pm on April 8, 2011 by Allan Loudell

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Comments on this post:

Tue, Apr 19, 2011 6:27pm
I just noticed this eclectic hobby blog. Thanks for offering these posts as well as the news articles. I will be checking in for the butterfly reports, and stamp collecting. I'm not an avid collector but I do like the Naturescape series and legendary Hollywood stars. (By Naturescape I mean the regional eco-systems and the wildlife they host. They're all on one big page, and you can peel them off one by one if you want to use them.)

Cornell U has a website for backyard bird trackers, you can register the nests you see on your property. My BF built a couple birdhouses, they have had different tenants over the years. I registered the owl's nest in the woods behind his house, but the birdhouses aren't up yet.

The one birdhouse's opening was enlarged by a woodpecker. Yes, the bird was attempting to make the hole bigger so he could fit through it! I guess it's a type of avian home improvement.

Tyler Arboretum in Lima, PA has a butterfly house, it should be open sometime in spring.

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