Spring Butterflies at Tupper Hill
The images included in this section are a snapshot of the butterfly species observed during Spring in past years at the Norcross Wildlife Sanctuary.
Additional species observed include Cabbage White (spotty observations, April – June); Brown Elfin (briefly on the wing in late April – early May); Eastern Tailed Blue (observed in early May, early June and late June).; Great Spangled Fritillary (appearing in late June); Red-spotted Purple (June, all butterflies were of the red-spotted purple type, no white admiral types were observed); Northern Pearly Eye (observed in mid-late June); Common Ringlet (very common in June); Common Wood Nymph (appearing in strong numbers at the end of June); and Juvenal’s Duskywing (late April – early May).
Spring Azure at Vineca Canal, nectaring on bird droppings; 6+ adults observed feeding at the same site, all lucia form. Peak observations late April – early May.
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail at Tupper Hill. This large species was observed throughout the months of May & June; most frequently sighted late May– early June.
Clouded Sulphur behind Visitor’s Center. Both species of Sulphur (Clouded and Orange) are common sights at Tupper Hill as they fly erratically over the tall grasses. Clouded appears earlier than Orange. Clouded Sulphurs were observed late April – June and Orange Sulphurs mid May – June.
American Copper in front of the Greenhouse. This species was on the wing since the second week of May and was very abundant in late May and early June.
Eastern Pine Elfin at the Pine Barrens Garden. Individuals of this species were found in late April and again the last week of May.
Question Mark behind visitor’s center, this was the only sighting of this species. Note the white question mark-like spot on the hind wing, upside down in the upper left of this photo.
Pearl Crescent (tattered) at Lime Flower Cobbles. This species was very abundant from early May through early June. Eyed Brown (06/24/2010) along Vernal Pool Trail. Mass emergence at the end of June, butterflies often seen along woodland edges.
Little Wood Satyr along Vernal Pool Trail. Abundant in June. Adult butterflies depend on flowering plants to provide nectar. They also use plants as a larval food source. Some species, like the Monarch, are very specific about what species of plant they lay their eggs on as it is the only plant the caterpillar will eat.
European Skipper at Tupper Hill. This variable species was Abundant in June.
Little Glassywing along Vernal Pool Trail. While most skippers are very difficult to identify, this species has more distinctive markings. Individuals observed in late June.
Silver-spotted Skipper by visitor’s center. This large skipper species was more common mid-late June.
Red Admiral at Shop. Spotty appearances of this species in May & June.
Mourning Cloak at Bare Hill. This is perhaps the most reliable sight to find this species during any month of the year. Individuals sighted throughout spring.
Monarch at Tupper Hill.
Common Milkweed at Tupper Hill. The abundant milkweed at this site is extremely beneficial to the Monarch butterfly as its host plant and to numerous other species as a nectar source. Some of these plants are over six feet tall and harbor a diverse array of beetles, bees, flies, and other insects. Indigo buntings have been heard and observed here as well, and they may be nesting at this site as it fits their habitat requirements to a tee. The buntings forage low for insects as well as seeds. Dozens of butterflies were observed feeding, mating and laying eggs at this site as June waned. This first flight of Monarchs are returning migrants seeking out milkweed as the host plant on which to lay their eggs. Monarchs usually have three or four broods, living about three weeks each, before the migratory instinct returns for southerly travel. While Monarchs themselves are not an endangered species, the loss of habitat at their limited wintering grounds in Mexico may put the phenomenon of migration at risk. Where will they go?