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July 13, 2016     The Westmoreland Journal
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July 13, 2016
 

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6 Wednesday, July 13, 2016 THE JOURNAL www.journalpress.com MARK FIKE Some years these butterflies are com- and stationery. mon and other years when they are The silver spotted skipper has a This month's focus on wildlife all but absent. I find these butter- chocolate colored wingspan of 2 creatures is on butterflies. Butterflies flies to be very interesting, particu- inches. The forewings have a golden are favorite symbols of beauty and larly the eyespots on them. While I colored band on them with some spring or summer in many areas of was photographing them they were yellowish tinge. The hind wings are the world, somewhat calm and busy feeding, plain but have a large silver spot be- Some companies use the butterfly Although they were not as oblivious low. These butterflies move extreme- symbol to show a product is environ- to me as the Eastern Tiger Swallow- ly fast and appear to skip from flower mentally safe. Some scientists liken tail, they did stick around even when to flower. They have two generations butterflies to the canaries in the coal I got fairly close, in our area but only one further mine story -- as a family that acts as The zebra swallowtail has a wing- north. The caterpillars feed only at a sentinel or early warning system span of 2.5 -4.5 inches, is a pale night. to problems in our environment. A blueish color but can also have white The last species that I was able to series of articles could be written on stripes instead of the blueish tinge, photograph was the great spangled the importance of butterflies, their The wings have dark brown or black fritillary. This butterfly has a 3-3.25 plight in today's world and the dan- edges and stripes. This butterfly is inch wingspan that is orange and ger of losing many species of them generally more common south of us brown with black spots. The fore- due to deforestation, habitat being but obviously the range extends to wing undersides are paler with gobbled up by development and so our area. These butterflies produce brownish black spots and some sit- on. The focus of this article though is several generations a year. The first very spots that glisten or shine in the to simply highlight a few of the com- offspring are smaller and whiter, tat- direct sunlight. The hind wings are mon species in our local area. er in the summer the butterflies tend dark underneath with silvery spots I took a short walk around my to be larger. The ones fluttering and and black edges. This butterfly does property and stood near some but- feeding on my butterfly bush were not venture much further south than terfly bushes I had planted years frantic in nature and never stayed Virginia or North Carolina. A neat ago. While standing there I counted put for more than a few seconds, piece of trivia about these is that the several types of bees, and over a half They are very pretty, particularly caterpillars eat only at night and hide dozen different butterfly species. The with their blue coloration, during the day. five I was able to get a clear photo of The eastern tiger swallowtail is Butterflies have a tough battle to included the eastern tiger swallow- commonly seen around our locale stay alive as birds love to swoop down tail, silver spotted skipper, American and is a large butterfly. The wingspan and snatch them to eat. I have seen painted lady, great spangled fritillary is 4- to over 5 inches. All the males many birds with a butterfly in their and zebra swallowtail, have yellow wings. Females can too. beaks heading for a next or a perch. The American painted lady is a The dark phase females are brownish Praying mantis love to eat them too. medium sized butterfly that can be black with yellow and have blue spots Sometimes a butterfly's wings looked mixed up with the painted lady but- near the outer edges. Like the zebra ragged or worn indicating a brush terfly. Its fore wings are orange with swallowtail, there are several genera- with death. In fact, some adult but- rosy tinges, numerous black mark- tions a year. The ones on my butterfly terflies (not counting the stages of ings and white spots near the tips. bush paid me no mind at all. I could life before becoming an adult) may The lower wings have a grayish, even insert my finger in their way be measured in a matter of weeks! marbled look to them with white and and they would simply crawl over it Enjoy them this summer because in black coloration. There are two large and keep feeding. These butterflies a few short months it will be getting eyespots on the wings underneath are commonly photographed (I have cooler and we will see fewer and few- which show up prominently when several nice shots--see www.fikeout- er of them and wish they were back the butterfly folds its wings upright, doors.com) and put on postcards, again with some warm temperatures. Photos by Mark Fike An eastern tiger swallowtail, at left, and an American Painted Lady, below. Outdoor report MARK AND MISSY FIKE was for croaker using bottom rigs. Fish early there is tough. Most fish were hitting squid and late or fish deeper during the day. although finding a box of squid for bait car Fishing did not slow down much in the POTOMAC RIVER be tough now too according to our source. heat, which was a surprise. The key was fish- Aqua Land Marina (301-259-2222) re- INLAND ing early and late. ported catfish were still heavily biting almost Lake Anna anglers were taking some nic( RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER anything. Most croaker anglers are taking bass on plastic jerkbaits and swimbaits. "' K~n'~'Tackle in Sp6t~ylvania reported that more than their share of catfish too. Croaker Striper angling was tougher now that the anglers are still catching a plenty of catfish in were hitting squid near Cobb Island. Most heat wave hit. Fish very early and the bite the river near Fredericksburg down to Hicks' were eating size. A few perch were mixed in. does not last long either. Landing. Ken's reported croaker were hitting well Pond anglers are still reportedly rackin~ Downriver near Tappahannock, the bite at Colonial Beach but finding a place to fish up some nice bass catches on plastic worms and creature baits, and on topwater later in flounder are finally being caught. Spadefish the evenings or early mornings according to are also on the CBBT. Clams are working on Donna at Ken's. them. The croaker bite near West Point has Motts Run reported very good channel been really good. Crabbing in the Virginia catfishing on chicken livers. The bream bite Beach area is reportedly very good right now. is good in the shade and offthe piers. No bass Some mullet are being caught down on the report this week. piers too. .... SALTWATER Offshore Capt. Ryan Rogers reports tuna 3he cobia bite in the lower bay is keeping and mahi mahi biting well. pace with the past few weeks. Spanish macks Inshore the spades and macks are biting were biting along the CBBT and some nice well too. 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