Autumn Flight of Painted Ladies and Pygmy Blues
Autumn 2013 in the western portion of the Great Basin Desert has been very mild, following the record breaking heat of summer. The warm days and cool nights have extended the growing season well into November, which is very unusual for this part of the U. S.
With so many flowers in bloom and the milder temperatures, I was beginning to fear that the Painted Lady butterflies were not going to show this year.
Suddenly, as if on cue and when the days were starting to cool, Painted Ladies, along with the tiny Western Pygmy Blue butterflies were both here in large numbers.
The numerous sightings of painted lady, Vanessa cardui butterflies must be due to the prolific blooms of Rabbitbush and other plants that provide nourishment en route for their southward migration to the wintering habitats.
The Western Pygmy Blue (Brephidium exilis) is the smallest butterfly in North America, with a wingspan of only one half inch (1.2 cm), it can easily go unnoticed.
Preferring the Saltbush as its host plant and the alkali soil, it's no wonder the Western Pygmy Blue thrives in such great numbers around Walker Lake.
What an exciting and interesting photo-adventure this day has been. I love it when I am drawn to an area and not knowing what to expect I get treated to new experiences.
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