Leps Sighting...

mbpi at juno.com mbpi at juno.com
Sat Apr 27 08:48:59 EDT 2002

Okay, I'm going to throw in a recent sighting, if only to break the
monotony of the recent posts that have been glutting this listserv.

Presently, I am involved in a scheduled "BioBlitz" in a surrealistic
industrial area on the southern tip of Lake Michigan...a unique area of
ethnic diversity, historical significance, toxic waste, and formerly
"premier wetlands" that were once the Chicago playground of the "rich and
famous."  Though some remnant habitats still exist, there is an (10 year)
initiative underway to restore the area to its former verdant
splendor...with the attempt to incorporate the dying industry into an
"environmentally friendly" coexistence with the monetary, as well as
health-related and sustainable environmental needs, of the current local
community.  Ironically, the place reminds me of Jamaica Bay in New York
City, and has the potential to be a similarly "high profile"
environmental area juxtaposed with its "big city" backdrop. 

So...on April 23rd I was "formally introduced" to the area of "renewal",
and spent the morning getting the lay-of-the-land, while birding with my
Ornithologist guide...

It wasn't until we reached the most degraded area of the designated
"blitz" that I started observing butterflies!  We were hiking the
now-defunct Nike Nuclear Power Plant that was built on a slag-filled
prairie wetland dominated by Little Blue Stem grass, when a number of
Vanessas basking on the slag, flew up erratically as we approached.  I
couldn't ID them all for certain, but I'm almost sure one was V.
virginiensis.  There were no "Red Admirals."  It seemed pretty early to
me for V. virginiensis in this part of the country, but we had a week of
record-breaking heat that could have brought them out or up...  It wasn't
particularly hot yesterday, but it was warm and sunny.  Also saw a Pieris
rapae (yawn) and a smallish brown butterfly that flew off too fast for me
to ID...

I'm certainly off to a "bad start" this year... even my warbler IDing has
greatly diminished, not having birded during migration in two years. 
Fortunately, I now have a job that allows me to get out in the field,
unlike last year when I was confined (for long hours) to the butterfly

I expect to have more Leps posts from this area as the season (and I)

M.B. Prondzinski

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