Beside Hope Estate

This morning I took a walk past the airport and up the little dirt road I had noticed a few days ago. The area was a mix of trees and meadows and many butterflies and other insects were around the road, probably enjoying some water from this morning’s rain.

One of my first discoveries was the plant on which the swallowtail caterpillars feed. Although I don’t know what it is called, I do know that the caterpillars prefer the young shoots in shady areas. These they will eat until not a bit of leaf is left, while larger shrubs in exposed areas are almost totally untouched.

I was also able to photograph a couple of the local butterflies, including a tiny yellow sulfur and a fuzzy little blue butterfly. There is also a tiny white butterfly with yellow forewings, cabbage butterflies, larger sulfurs, the buckeye-type butterfly, a skipper, some sort of fritillary, the monarch and the swallowtail. There is also some small black butterfly or moth that I have yet to get a good look at.

On the hill there were plenty of goats, a tree with little green fruits that almost look like olives and a strange, super-prickly cucumber-like vine. On my way back, I found a struggling swallowtail. At first I thought it might be a dying mother that just used her last energy to lay eggs, but seeing the brilliant colors and watching how it pumped its wings, I realized it must be a newly hatched adult still working up the strength to fly. I also saw hundreds of baby spiders hatching from an egg sack and almost ran head on into a paper wasp nest.

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