“March Mourning Cloak”
“Spring reveals new things and new life. Sometimes, it has unexpected and early surprises, each received with joy, and curiosity.” – Ed Lehming
This has been a very odd spring. It seems to be progressing at a quicker pace than usual, so I find myself looking back at my photos and notes from the past few years to validate what I am experiencing this year. It really is an advanced spring and I am seeing plants and animals earlier than usual.
I have been out hiking twice already wearing just a long sleeved tee shirt, while trials still have icy sections. It’s like being in spring with winter only steps away. That was the case late last week when I posed the question, “What Season is it?” I entered the forest on muddy early spring trails, at a time when they are usually still snow covered, I hiked through dry, leaf-covered trails, and enjoyed gentle spring creeks. Only a few steps beyond that idyllic scene, I was faced with trails that were completely covered in ice and I had to put my cleats back on. Fortunately I had the foresight to bring them with me on this trip.
As I proceeded along this icy ribbon, the elevation gradually changed and the trail exited the valley system and the snow and ice was once more a thing of the past. Leaving this area and heading into the dry forest once more I spotted motion just off the trail. At first, I thought it was a dark leaf being tossed around by the wind, that is until the ‘leaf’ raised higher above the ground and began circling in the air above me. The ‘leaf’ was a Mourning Cloak butterfly, in March! It looked a bit weather-worn and on research discovered that they hibernate for the winter, so I’d say this one did OK surviving our Canadian winter is relatively good condition. This one must have just emerged and seemed content to sit on the leaf-lettered forest floor soaking up the warm sunlight.
I have since seen a few more butterflies and observed them sitting on maples that recent wind storms have damaged and feeding on the sap seeping from broken branches. There always seems to be something new to learn about the natural world around me.
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 200 mm
1/1250 sec, f/2.8, ISO 400