Saturday’s outing at the Portage continued, with birds here and there, but this post will concentrate on the butterflies who stole the show as the sun climbed more directly overhead.
The main draw was the Burdock blooms, which sometimes made walking on the narrow path narrower and a bit precarious. After all, Burdock was the inspiration plant for Velcro.
As it turned out I encountered two distinguished gentlemen on the path who, after asking me what I was interested in, announced they were into plants. They were happy to tell me the Burdock blooms were the second stage of the biennial plant, those monstrous huge leaves being the first year. I returned the favor by identifying the juvenile Red-Tailed Hawk from my previous post and the trouble it was causing the juvenile Green Heron. They went on to identify a few other plants for me, one of which I used on my picture of the now-named Heal-All in a previous post.
Burdock has an entire culture built around it, including medicinal and culinary uses, which don’t tempt me. But to see the butterflies and other insects enjoying the flowers gave me a new appreciation for what I previously wrote off as a pesky invasive.
The butterflies were all on the north side of the creek that runs through the Portage. I usually walk all the way around the south side first by crossing the east bridge, and then cross the west bridge over the creek and turn back toward the way I came only on the other side of the creek, which is where the burdock grew thicker and more and more butterflies appeared.
It was nice to have the swallowtails and the purple for comparison.
I am not convinced of my identification for the butterfly below but have not yet found anything else it resembles.
There were several dragonflies, unfortunately the most cooperative sitting on the gravel which makes a lousy picture. The White-Faced Meadowhawks are abundant this year.
Perhaps most fortuitous was the Red Admiral pictured below. First it landed on my pants, then on my sleeve, and I guess it knew I wanted a picture because it moved to the camera. I was loaded down with both cameras hanging on my shoulders and my binoculars, so the only option left was the cell phone. That’s how I got the three pictures below. The Red Admiral wasn’t going anywhere and I stood still as it kept investigating my skin with its little proboscis, until I finally started moving again and it flew away.
The bees were busy too.
I will be back to birds for a recap of Sunday’s return visit to the Chicago Portage.