Sunday, August 22, 2010

Butterflies and the Seven Day Rule

I’ve had several people ask me why I have imposed a rule upon myself prohibiting the posting of any photo on this blog that is over seven days old. I expect the Blue Jay Barrens blog to accomplish certain things and following the seven day rule is just one of the ways I believe I can meet the goals I’ve set. Making my posts as current as possible gives people a chance to get out and look for the same things I’m seeing. The Gemmed Satyr pictured above is one of Ohio’s uncommon butterflies that is out in record numbers right now. Anyone who has ever wanted to see a Gemmed Satyr should be out searching today.

I get annoyed with people who think you have to go some place special to experience nature. I’ve lived many places, both urban and rural, and could go outside at any time and find something interesting going on. Following the seven day rule makes me go out any time of year in any weather and find something interesting to photograph and talk about. There have been many times when I’ve gotten home from work, grabbed the camera and headed outside in the last few minutes of daylight to find a good subject and get some photos. The Buckeye is a common butterfly that could be flying through any urban backyard.

Some people scoff and say it’s easy for me because I have a special place, but I point out that before I bought it and began looking around, this was just considered another run down farm. There are many highly acclaimed sites that were nothing special until someone took an interest and started studying the plant and animal life in the area. A good example is the old New Jersey farm bought by C. Brooke Worth, my favorite naturalist, as a place to retire and study mosquitoes and whatever else the farm had to offer. The decision to buy was made simply because the size and apparent diversity of the property made him think there would be plenty of interest for him there. His farm is now The Nature Conservancy’s Eldora Nature Preserve that supports several rare species, particularly rare moths and butterflies. It doesn’t necessarily take rare species to make a property interesting, as Monarch butterflies prove to us every year.

By following the seven day rule, I get a pretty good record of how things progress through the year. Now that I’ve been blogging for over a year, it’s easy to check the blog archives to see what was going on last year at this time or to look ahead at what you might want to be watching for. I hope that my blog posts will motivate people to get outdoors to see what’s happening and to make their own discoveries. Knowing that blooming thistle is attracting Tiger Swallowtail butterflies should be motivation enough to get outdoors.

So the seven day rule is self imposed and is not something that They, as one person assumed, make me do. There’s nothing really special about seven days. I chose that number because during the winter I often spend all of my weekday sunlight hours at work and can only get my photographs over the weekend. Saturday or Sunday shots could then carry me through the next week. Wood Nymphs are becoming a little worn, so you’d better get out right away if you want to see any of these.


  1. I appreciate your self-imposed 7-day rule! And I agree with you! Finding myself without a car, and confined to my 2+ acre wet meadow, I am well entertained. ~karen

  2. hit the nail on the head...I can find plenty of things of interest in my own back yard!!
    But those butterflies still elude me...I have seen more of them but I am usually on the lawn mower when I do. : }
    Your have some nice photos of butterflies..and I like that little ant too!! : }

  3. As a reader, your 7 day posting rule is one of things I love about your blog, Steve! However, as a blogger still learning about my local nature, I often find it takes me a while before I can ID my subjects. I backdate all my posts to the date of my photos for my own reference of seasonal progression from year to year. Never did I dream that people would actually read my blog. Great butterfly pics, btw!

  4. I, too, had wondered about the 7-day rule, but figured that was how you forced yourself to stay current and not get behind. I get behind pretty often! Of coincidence, I just posted photos of the buckeye (along with meadow fritillary and a black swallowtail) a couple of hours before seeing your post. I take the majority of my photos in the non-wooded part our yard which is about 1.5 acres. I never get bored and almost always see something worth photographing. I find great pleasure in discovering what is going in my own backyard. And I take great pleassure in seeing what is going on yours, too!


  5. Karen – From the photos I’ve seen, you probably have a lifetime’s worth of things to discover in your wet meadow. A wonderful place in which to be confined.

    grammie g – You’re just going to have to start carrying that camera on the lawn mower with you. Maybe if you had more lawn mowers, you would get more butterflies.

    Thanks, Katie. I’ve been identifying things for several decades, so it’s not so hard to find subjects that I already know. Still, I take a lot of photos of things I can’t identify and enjoy the challenge of figuring out what they might be.

    Wilma – It sounds like you’ve got a nice yard to explore. Every yard should have a few Purple Coneflowers. Your Buckeye appears to be a fresher specimen with brighter colors than the one I saw.

  6. I lived and learned in OH longer than I've lived here on the CCC. In some ways, I know your neck of the woods better than my own. Thank you for your blog.