Fw: Lord Robert May
mbpi at juno.com
mbpi at juno.com
Thu Jul 11 20:47:45 EDT 2002
Meanwhile, where are the butterflies.
In response to Mike's query: They are there...and here...though not in
the numbers like last year!
The butterfly population dynamics are quite different this summer, and my
situation is quite different as well.
I'm not working in an outdoor "butterfly tent" this year; the profusion
of landscaped butterfly gardens on the Chicago Museum Campus have been
stripped and plundered to make way for an underground expansion of the
Field Museum's COLLECTIONS, and Soldier Field has been completely denuded
of its forest of butterfly/bird roosts because of its complete
"revamping." Even the Aquarium's butterfly garden is long gone thanks to
their construction "expansion..." All that's left are the median
gardens, which are planted with a number of butterfly nectar preferences.
I've seen a number of Monarchs and Pierids along the medians, but little
My current job is taking me into the southernmost surrounding habitats of
Lake Michigan, and though the sightings have been minimal, I've observed
Black Swallowtails, Clouded Sulphurs, Wood Nymphs and Azures. I saw a
few Vanessas earlier in the season, but NONE recently (!)
I have spotted more Tiger Swallowtails wafting through the treetops in
Evanston, IL than I've ever observed before (though certainly not huge
numbers)...and I have a resident Comma patrolling the shrubbery at the
back end of my yard that attacks me everytime I come or go through the
All in all, we've had an unusual year of extreme weather: a frigid cold
spring after one week of intense heat that forced a spring tree flowering
of unprecedented length and beauty...followed by torrential rains and
cold which lasted for weeks. Then the BIG HEAT and dry spell
decended...and no butterflies emerged with it! (Too much previous rain?)
Even the Tiger Swallowtail that overwintered as a chrysalis in my
vegetable crisper and was still supple when I finally exposed it to the
elements of nature in early June, "fried" in my Port-o-Bug net-cage from
the intense heat on my back porch... (Damn!!!) I ultimately fed it to
the squirrels (!)
Anyway you look at it...it's been SLOW. But heck, I'm too busy to get
out much beyond the confines of my job parameters. And judging from all
the construction happening in previously "yielding habitats," this year
is going to be a write-off on the butterfly books...at least from my
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