Earlier this week, while on our evening walk, I noticed a sulphur buttefly deceased along the side of the road. I didn't think much of it - we often find butterflies and moths who had terminal encounters with vehicles.
But then I found another.
And groups of them!
I only found two survivors, and this one I'm not sure actually made it. What in the world happened? On the way home, I counted 44 bodies in about a quarter-mile stretch. This was not normal. The only thing I could think of was puddling. This road is a dirt road, and we'd recently had a fair bit of rain. Could all these butterflies have been puddling, and then gotten run into by vehicles that either didn't see them or didn't care? I can think of no other explanation.
On a cheerier, note, however, we also saw this kestrel! It really liked this oak tree (lots of birds do, especially starlings, which nest in its many cavities). It soared around a bit, then came to rest in the tree. Took off, flapped around, returned to rest. I'm glad to see this bird - I haven't seen a wild kestrel for many years - just the merlins in the Adirondacks.
Meanwhile, at work, we had someone bring us this mystery caterpillar:
We looked and looked in our caterpillar ID books, but to no avail. I finally sent this shot off to BugGuide and the answer came back "dogwood sawfly." Not a moth or caterpillar at all! It turns out that this larva is quite a pest of dogwoods. The adult is a fly, but looks somewhat like a wasp, but it's the larva that does the damage. Now, I didn't see it listed as a non-native insect, so, although it does damage to dogwoods, it must be a native insect, and therefore, part of the circle of life for our native plants. If you have ornamental dogwoods, well, that's something else. Go native - the plants and their associated critters are used to each other. You will get some damage, but that is natural! Plants are food - not museum specimens.