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WDEL Blog: Eclectic Hobbies with Allan Loudell

Sure sign of an early Spring: Early sightings of Butterflies

No question: It's been a very mild winter. Both flowers and weeds have popped up early.

With the start of Daylight Time and warming temperatures, I put on one of my butterfly ties this morning. Why not celebrate an early spring?

While driving out from WDEL/WSTW - running a quick errand - I scanned grassy areas for butterflies, even though the 12th of March is ordinarily a bit early. Almost on cue, I saw two Cabbage Whites along our WDEL/WSTW driveway. That's about two-and-a-half to three weeks from first sightings in northern Delaware in most other years, typically in the range of March 28th--April 1st.

Most of us overlook the rather plain-looking Cabbage Whites (technically a European invasive species) later in the year, but today, they made this springlike day all the more complete! Unlike the few butterflies which take shelter and hibernate as adults (Eastern Commas, Question Marks, Mourning Cloaks), Cabbage Whites hibernate in the pupal state. Cabbage Whites, Falcate Orangetips in certain parks (occasionally at Lums Pond, always Nottingham County Park in Pennsylvania) and Spring Azures (in nearly all state parks) are all harbingers of other butterflies later in the spring.

UPDATE: Tuesday, March 13th

Another early season butterfly sighting, between our WDEL/WSTW transmitting towers: A Clouded Sulphur!

Jim White, Associate Director, Land & Biodiversity Management, at the Delaware Nature Center, tells me they've seen numerous Cabbage Whites over the last couple of days, and at least one Mourning Cloak (which typically overwinters as an adult).


Posted at 2:30pm on March 12, 2012 by Allan Loudell

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Comments on this post:

mrpizza
Mon, Mar 12, 2012 10:51pm
Allan: Thank you so much for reminding us of the lighter side of life. It's so easy to get caught up in busy busy and forget to notice the beauty of God's creation. Thank you again.


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