April 10, 2010 – I was so surprised to see a meadow fritillary butterfly and what I think may be a rusty-patched bumblebee. My neighbor Bobbie and her dog Bootsie were sitting outside and watching the nature show. Bobbie said, “Bootsie was barking at the bumblebee earlier.” She pointed out the futterbys. Check out Larry Webber’s Website at http://wisconsinbutterflies.org/butterfly/species/70-meadow-fritillary to learn more about the meadow fritillary.
This is the earliest I have ever seen a butterfly outside of the mourning cloak that was seen in March and is the first butterfly to show itself after the snows.
Bumblebees are another passion of mine. The rusty-patched bumblebee is in decline. I think this is the species I may have seen today because it had a rusty band around its middle.
According to Xerces Society this species of bumblebee though found in the Midwest is not supposed to be in Washburn County.
I feel that I am on a treasure hunt because I want to not only document this bumblebee species in Washburn County. I hope at least I am fortunate enough to photograph it and other bumbles in 2010.
I did notice that viola (violet plant) grew as a ground cover beneath the nonflowering lilac.
The fritillary host plant is the viola. The caterpillars overwinter and emerge as butterflies in the spring. It was near 60 degrees Fahrenheit today and perhaps the butterfly had recently emerged as a butterfly.
Think spring Insectamonarca friends and be happy where ever you are.