Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)
As much as I like to see the patchwork carnival of bright autumn leaves, I hate to think their arrival marks the beginning of the end for the colorful fluttering butterflies. Sure, the coming of fall also means many birds will be flying south to winter in warmer climes. But to a degree, that's more like a changing of the guard—one group of species being replaced by another. Winter or summer, we still have plenty of birds around. With butterflies, however, it's feast or famine. You don't see many butterflies in January!
Orange Sulphur (Colias eurytheme Boisduval)
I expect that bittersweet thought was on the edge of my mind yesterday when I spent an hour poking around a tiny patch of roadside meadow just up from the cottage. There were butterflies everywhere I looked—flitting in the air, feeding from bloom to bloom, sometimes settling into the long grass or atop a handy weedstem for a rest, occasionally taking off is if they'd suddenly decided to scout some other sunlit patch elsewhere.
Pearly Crescent (Phyciodes tharos)
How many photos of a Common Buckeye does a fellow need? I have no idea…but I made dozens, as if the more images I captured, the more I could hold on to some essence of their delicate winged forms and bright colors. I did the same for every one of the dozen or more butterfly species I saw.
Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)
Butterfly time is long but limited. Their reign is almost at a close. A month from now, the only thing apt to be stirring here will be a handful of fallen leaves blown by November's searching wind.