A Flutter Of Butterflies

~“Butterflies are self propelled flowers.” ~ R.H. Heinlein

Texas Hill Country has butterflies EVERYWHERE! I have never seen so many butterflies in my life; except in butterfly exhibits at the San Diego Zoo, the Wild Animal Park, and Okinawa. Really, It started when it was my turn at the wheel while driving up into Hill Country Texas. There were a lot of blackish butterflies flying all over the road and smashing into the car. At Ozoma, TX it was time to pull off of the road to check them out. It turns out that they were swarms of Red Admirals. With so many of the Red Admirals I figured they must migrate. Sure enough! Where we live  in San Diego County we really don’t see this swarming of butterflies, so this is a awesome site. Everywhere you look there are butterflies. At one rest stop, the oak tree looked as if it were made of butterflies since it was covered with Painted Ladies. Yep, another migrating species. Tiny little Dainty Sulphurs seem to flit around me everywhere I walked. I’m sure spectators were wondering, “Who is that crazy lady running around after the butterflies and taking pictures?”

Butterflies seen which I was able to key out: Queen, Red Admiral, Dainty Sulphur, Common Checkered Skipper, Clouded Sulphur, Sleepy Orange, Painted Lady, Fiery Skipper, American Snout, American Painted Lady, Phaon Crescent, Southern Dogface, Ceraunus Blue, Sachem Skipper, Clouded Skipper, Variegated Fritillary, Checkered White, Bordered Patch, Eufala Skipper, and Pipe Swallowtail. Combine the butterflies with the change-of-season trees and it’s just a little slice of heaven on Earth! Hill Country sure is beautiful! I saw 15 new-to-me species of butterflies! Awesome.

This is the American Snout, the most bizarre butterfly I have ever seen; definitely the Jimmy Durante of butterflies. There is only one native snout butterfly in America. The average windspan is  1 3/8″ – 2″. Again, another species which migrates. Different resources I read said that over an 18 day period in September 1921, an estimated 6 billion American Snout butterflies flew over a 250 mile path from San Marcos, Texas south to the Rio Grande River. Unbelievable! This picture was taken down the street from my daughter’s home in the Lakeway area of Austin.

snout

I do love these beautiful, graceful, “self-propelled flowers”.

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