In what will certainly become an annual ritual, the first official butterfly sighting of the year for Butterfly Ridge happened today. And the winner was . . . drum roll please . . . Eastern Comma! Actually, it was the first, second, third, fourth, and possibly fifth butterfly sightings of the year, all rolled up in one. I know for sure that there were at least four individuals, but there were two that were engaged in an aerial dogfight and it was hard to track each butterfly.
Last year our first official sighting was March 22, 2015 (see one of the first posts in this blog) and it was also an Eastern Comma. So we are a little earlier this year. Commas, Mourning Cloaks, and Question Marks will all come out on warm days in late winter/early spring. They have spent the winter hiding in brush piles and behind tree bark and are anxious for an opportunity to fly.
Today's sightings were in the new woodland clearing, which by the way has been expanded by about 30 percent this winter. I will be excited to see it later in spring and summer when plants start blooming and hairstreaks start flying. Welcome to another butterfly season!