Roadside Ruler

Greetings, dear readers.

On these heated July afternoons, there isn’t much that will get me out onto the road beyond the promise of finding the first of the season’s large butterflies. I haven’t seen but a few this year – a fritillary here and there, one red-spotted purple, one red admiral, a comma. Finally, now, as July jump starts more showy flowers, I am starting to see more activity.

Among today’s finds were Silver-spotted skippers bouncing through the teasels and one tiny Delaware skipper on milkweed. Skippers are twitchy little things and don’t often light long enough to get an image. However, I was lucky enough to encounter a spectacularly bright and fresh Tawny Emperor (Asterocampa clyton) fanning its wings, probably in its first day after emergence.

This beautiful creature sat in the middle of the road and let me play paparazzi all around it. First showing off its marbled underwings.T emperor under

And then the brilliantly marked uppers:

T emperor top

This is one of two Emperor species we have here, and the less common one, so it was a delight to be able to spend a few moments appreciating this lovely visitor. Especially since, true to form, I was kneeling in the middle of the road to do it.

There are probably sillier things to do on a summer afternoon than apply knees and elbows to asphalt in pursuit of the perfect closeup of a rarely seen friend.

Readers, I hope your summer days hold some rare surprises. I hope you are keeping well and safe and I am grateful you are here.

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