I tried an early morning excursion in an attempt to photograph some Carolina Satyrs while they were in a more sluggish condition. I guess all of the small Satyrs were so sluggish they weren’t moving at all. I didn’t find the first one until things had warmed considerably and the butterflies were acting in their typical wary manner. I did get a couple of shots of the two larger species of the Satyr group found at Blue Jay Barrens. This is a Northern Pearly Eye, a rapid flier that normally perches on tree trunks
The Common Wood Nymph is the second of the larger Satyr species. This butterfly is very common and can be found in a variety of habitats, but I tend to find it in the shadow of trees.
It normally perches near or on the ground. With the forewing eyespot hidden from view, the butterfly is almost impossible to see.
A couple of days ago I watched a large Robber Fly chase after a passing Common Wood Nymph. No capture was made and I thought a butterfly of that size would be quite a lot for the fly to manage. I changed my mind when I found this Robber Fly hanging on to its captured Common Wood Nymph.
The fly has inserted its piercing mouth parts into the body of the butterfly and is busy guzzling down the soft insides.
While I was busy trying to overcome my problem of getting near enough to a Carolina Satyr for a good picture, this Hackberry Butterfly presented me with an opposite problem. I had trouble getting this guy to back off far enough for me to get a shot. It first landed on my face and then dropped down to my neck. Eventually I got it to move onto my arm where it sat calmly drinking sweat.
The Hackberry Butterfly can sometimes become a nuisance. In cases where they don’t find enough sweat, I’ve seen these butterflies probe ears, eyes, nose and mouth in an attempt to find some tasty liquid. I guess I’m luck I always seem to have plenty of sweat to offer.