More October butterfly mania from Montrose. This Painted Lady and Common Buckeye were cheek to jowl, so to speak, on this aster in the Butterfly Garden. Asters are like magnets for attracting nectar-feeding insects. This has been one of the best falls for butterflies I can remember, with hundreds of Monarchs and other leps.
Montrose was bursting with Monarchs on September 27. I’ve been birding and looking at butterflies there for 40 years and I can’t remember seeing so many. They seemed to be dripping off the asters and goldenrods. Obviously they had a good year. Sanctuaries like the Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary provide refuge for all kinds of wildlife and prove that nature will thrive when given a chance. Oh yeah, I did some birding too. Link to my eBird checklist for the day below.
September 27, 2019
Two somewhat similar but not closely related insects, the Large Milkweed Bug (left insect in the composite photo) and the Red Milkweed Beetle. Large Milkweed Bugs are true bugs (order Hemiptera), while Red Milkweed Beetles belong to the order Coleoptera, the largest order of insects. Both species are obligate milkweed consumers, a distinction they share with the caterpillar of the Monarch butterfly. And like the Monarch, they are toxic to predators. Both of these insects can be found at Montrose during the summer by examining clusters of Common Milkweed. Photographed in July 2019.
If you plant it they will come. A few years ago the Butterfly Garden at Montrose was boring, low diversity, non-native lawn grass. Since then it has been planted in native wildflowers to attract butterflies, and attract butterflies it has. This magnificent Red Admiral was enjoying the early morning sun (with a little help from Spiderwort) on July 4, 2019. Well, the colors are sorta red, white, and blue.
Montrose isn’t good for just birds. I found this Eastern Red Bat (Lasiurus borealis) roosting in a tree on May 24. See, bats really do hang upside down. Thanks to my Facebook friends for identifying this fellow.
The birding wasn’t very good this morning but the fishing sure was. A lucky fellow caught this beautiful Brown Trout from the end of the Fishhook Pier just before I got there. Actually, I didn’t know it was a Brown Trout at the time but I did some research and Brown Trout is the best match (it turns out that fish identification can be just as difficult and challenging as bird identification). Brown Trout are native to Europe and Asia but have been introduced to many places around the world, including the Great Lakes. This one was about 2 feet long and 10-12 pounds.
Oh yeah, I also had a first cycle Great Black-backed Gull, so the birding wasn’t a complete loss.