A Mourning Cloak moment

Focusing on a particular area when searching for butterflies makes sense. Choose the location wisely and, if you’re lucky, all you need to do is wait.

Yesterday, I decided to walk to the horse stable nearby. It’s my favorite spot and sometimes it feels amazing that a place that rich in species can be this close. The area provides shelter and since the surrounding fields are generally left on their own, there’s plenty of food around for adult butterflies and caterpillars.

Standing behind one of the stable buildings, the red building in the gallery below, a large creature was flying about 40 meters away. Due to size and colors, particularly the yellow borders, there was no doubt it was a Mourning Cloak, also known as Camberwell Beauty (Nymphalis antiopa). Fortunately, this skilled flyer landed where it was easy to be located.

Mourning Cloak

The Mourning Cloak was definitely the highlight of that day. Having confirmed its presence in the biotope around the horse stable I know where to start looking for caterpillars, too.

Another species that crossed my path was the Orange Underwing (Archiearis parthenias). This moth is flying at daylight and is one of the first species getting active after winter. It’s terrible in flying and the moth hardly manages to stay in the air. Obviously, see photos below, also a proper landing appears to be a challenge.

Orange Underwing

Today it’s raining outside. After a long dry period rain is very welcome and is exactly what the flora needs right now. Worth being mentioned, a copula of Scarce Tortoiseshells (Nymphalis xanthomelas) has been sighted this weekend by Helmut D., a lepidopterist living nearby. A great sign that caterpillars will be around in a couple weeks from now.

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