Yesterday, while out birding with my Vizsla in Massachusetts, I saw a number of species but the highlight of the morning was an early butterfly, the Mourning Cloak. We were in some oaks when I saw two butterflies flitting through the woods and climbing higher and out of sight. Then one returned and cooperatively sat on some leaves not far from me. I took some photos and then the dog returned from her explorations and spooked the pretty thing.
Not knowing my butterflies, I searched through my book to id what I had seen but it was hard. Finally I found it and of course, once I read the description, it was clear that I should have been aware that it’s always one of the first butterflies to emerge in the Northeast since it overwinters.
My friends tell me that the other overwintering butterfly is the Milbert’s Tortoiseshell. I’ll be looking for them in the days ahead.