Tuesday, March 1, 2011

First Butterfly of the Year and Artist Inspiration

Comma Anglewing Polygonia comma
Virginia Tech Campus February 26, 2011

I saw my first butterfly this year while working on a volunteer project for my local Virginia Master Naturalist chapter. We were just about to get started measuring trees in a forest tract next to the Virginia Tech stadium. The butterfly caught our attention while warming up in the sun (approximately 50 degrees).

The comma, like all anglewings, overwinter as adults in cracks of trees. Anglewings are true woodland butterflies and are commonly seen feeding on salts in dirt roads in the forest. I see them all summer in my driveway and marvel at how they come out on warm days. But, I think this is the earliest I have seen one, attesting to this winter's warmth.

References: Butterflies of North America by John Feltwell and another book with same title by Jeffrey Glassberg.

Painting from Norbert Hauput's blog inspired by my photo

One of my photos I published last spring inspired an artist to do a painting. I thought at the time it would make a good watercolor painting but I never did it. So, I am glad Norbert did one--it's beautiful.

One of the reasons I write this blog is to inspire people about the Appalachian mountains. Perhaps, it will motivate people from far away (like Norbert from California!) to be concerned about the destruction of the mountains through mountaintop coal mining. In the meantime, I will keep documenting the beauty of our part of the Appalachians.

Original Photo from my post "Fall Color Fading Fast" published last October.


  1. I love the way he intensified the color in the tree trunks. A lovely picture.

    Saw a bee in the hellebores on Saturday - in Richmond. Thought you need to know.

  2. That is an awesome orange butterfly and it looks huge!

  3. Very cool I had the same butterfly land on me yesterday in Durham. The butterfly is now called Eastern Comma.

  4. What a compliment to have someone do a watercolor of your photo! beautiful! both the watercolor and the photo!

    I think mountaintop removal is terrible..and I hope it is stopped!

    Thanks for making people more aware!

  5. Wow!I love the picture...this month also a butterfly visited me and am very happy with it.I took pictures with that big butterfly and paint it with Epson papers,so lovely.