Wednesday, January 13, 2010

2010 Butterfly Oracle

Much thanks to Mona and Walter Johnston, who have received GOOD NEWS for 2010 via the Butterfly Oracle!

They have informed me that the newly emerged Monarch male alighted on Walter and declared 2010 to be a good year for everyone, butterflies included.

I know our butterflies certainly could use some warmer weather (not to mention all the humans here in Florida...especially up here in Sarasota.) At least we still have double digits, friends!

The atala has suffered a severe crash this year, although the good news is that at least a few colonies survived well until late November. We will all be holding our breath until next spring and summer for these colonies. As I mentioned in the previous blog, this may well be part of a larger cycle that we don't recognize yet.

One of the colonies that I visited in November had several adults and numerous pupae and caterpillars and had been doing fine all summer (but NOT irrupting, either!)
Meanwhile, Dr Joshua Feingold purchased a lovely citrus tree this summer that arrived complete with a Giant Swallowtail larvae...despite cooler than normal temperatures, the butterfly emerged within ten days and Josh captured this beautiful close-up from a perspective most of us don't get to see often!

He also caught this view as the butterfly emerged:

Here on the frigid west coast of Central Florida (yeah, that's where Sarasota is located....), our oak hammocks have an outbreak of one of the nastiest little moth caterpillars you'll meet. It is the infamous "Southern Flannel Moth" (Lagoa crispata), sometimes called a "Puss Moth," because it is soft and fuzzy looking....but its sting is worse than a hornet!
I finally contacted the Audubon Society here on the west and attended the Regional Conservation Coalition meeting in Venice as well as the local meeting. It was great to be with birders (and some butterfly) people again. The west coast is a great place to visit for birds, butterflies and general wildlife and I am hoping to take some field trips this coming year.
NABA meets during the day, unfortunately, so I have not yet met with them, although I have spoken to members. Being in a "almost-retirement commmuity" like this has some true downers, and this is one of them! The "tourist season," which we know so well in Lauderdale and Miami, has quite different demographics over here! Tourists here are older, and stay for six or seven months. On the east coast, our tourists are generally younger, staying for a week to ten days in hotels...and instead of frequenting the golf course, they seem to frequent the watering holes. (and no, I did not bother to look up the actual demographics! This is based on my humble observations, only.)
On a short personal note to my friends on the East Coast, I have moved from Bradenton to Sarasota, so I am closer to work and to a little more activity (that meant three moves in 2009....which was not fun.)
I will be in Lauderdale for the GREAT BACK YARD BIRD COUNT on February 13, 2010, John Williams Park, 6101 Sheridan Street, Hollywood, FL, from 9 AM to noon for birding. Anyone who wishes to help remove exotic invasive plants from 1-3 PM is welcome to join in. (Wear long sleeves and pants, bring gloves, gardening tools and water. HOPEFULLY you'll need sunscreen, too!) I look forward to seeing you!

STAY WARM! Blessings to all! Become part of the world-wide quest for sustainability, diversity and peace: link to the World Shift Network and The Club of Budapest, founded by Dr. Ervin Laszlo.

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