Wednesday, 20 May 2015

It's Elfin Season Again...

One of the joys of spring is that Elfins are in season! These little Lycaenid butterflies only have a single generation per year so you gotta get out and see them while you can. Nova Scotia has five (possibly six, see note below) species and I've already seen and photographed three of them, including a "lifer" (a new species that I haven't seen before), so far this year. This one is an Eastern Pine Elfin, Callophrys niphon, photographed at Roaches Pond in Spryfield on May 15, 2015. Note that there is a chance, albeit a small one, that NS may also have a sixth Elfin species, the Western Pine Elfin, Callophrys eryphon, since they are known in New Brunswick...Cumberland & Colchester Co. butterfly watchers should get out and look!

The second species I've encountered this year is the most common (both most numerous and most widespread) species, the Brown Elfin, Callophrys augustinus, photographed near Mt, Uniacke on May 16, 2015. Looking at this photo of a fresh specimen you might wonder why it's not called the "purple" or the "violet" Elfin? Unfortunately those stunning violet scales are soon lost and for most of their flight period they are generally just another LBJ (a little brown job).

Finally, my lifer, a fresh Hoary Elfin, Callophrys polios, photographed near Mt, Uniacke on May 16, 2015. I don't know why it has taken so long for me to finally see and photograph one of these but I'd never seen one before this one. This particular butterfly was what I call "partially cooperative," meaning that it hung around and allowed me to repeatedly get "portrait close" but it kept landing in places where it was shaded or partly obscured by grass or twigs. The consequence of shooting a shaded, dark-coloured butterfly is "blown-out" background highlights! Hopefully I'll find some more soon and get some opportunities for better photos (though maybe I should just consider myself lucky and be thankful?).

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