Friday, August 24, 2012

Gray Hairstreak

I have yet to see a rare Red-banded Hairstreak this season, as many now have in Connecticut, but I have picked up some others like this Gray Hairstreak at Stratford Point.

There are enormous amounts of butterflies on the move right now. Painted Ladies seem to be everywhere, and the common and familiar Monarchs are starting to stage at key areas. You will soon be able to see hundreds at the Coastal Center at Milford Point or Stratford Point. A number of rare and uncommon skippers can be found at this time, though they are some of the most difficult to identify if all one gets is a fleeting glance between flights. Even photographs can still leave a lot to the imagination.

The best method I have seen when it comes to identifying some of these tough butterflies is to catch them with a net and carefully let them fly into a sealed cassette or CD case. These clear containers are easy to carry and simple to quickly close on a tiny skipper, allowing you to examine them for a moment while they are relatively confined. The best part is, of course, that all you have to do is open the case to let them fly away and continue on their way completely unharmed. You can see an example of this by Coastal Center Director Frank Gallo in this post. Very clever!

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation Technician

Photo © Scott Kruitbosch and not to be reproduced without explicit permission

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