Tuesday, 12 August 2014

After Three Years, a Successful Hunt! 

I've been hunting photos of this butterfly, the Gray Comma (Polygonia progne), for the past three years. It is very (very!) hard to get close to and, typically, once you scare it up it disappears completely. Today's encounter, north of Debert again, started like all the others: I scared the butterfly up from the damp mud that it was puddling at and it disappeared into the trees beside the road. Much to my surprise, however, ten minutes later I found it feeding at some fairly fresh dung at a graveled part of the road.

After scaring it away from its dung meal (I repeat this is a very (very!) cagey butterfly...it's very sensitive to movement), I was able to "chase" the butterfly around a fairly small area of the gravel road for five minutes or so. Finally, I just stood in the shade and waited for it to settle down. I was even more surprised when it landed practically at my feet and proceeded to pose for me!

Of course, once it had landed right by my feet, I could apparently do no wrong! I was able to slowly move away, move around the butterfly, and generally play "portrait photographer." When the sun came back out it closed its wings up and gave me the perfect pose for nice underside shots. Note the tip of the proboscis playing on the rock (the butterfly spits out a drop of liquid to dissolve the surface salts then sucks it back up). A very satisfying end to a three year hunt!

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