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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Mourning Cloak butterfly

Last weekend Husband was giving the tour of his woodshop to a friend. I was there too because she's my friend. His too, but more and originally, mine. MiMau had trailed along after us and she and I heard the light tap-tap-tapping at about the same moment. I followed her alert gaze and saw a butterfly flittering against the closed window, trying to get out. MiMau was measuring for her jump to the workbench, preparing to inspect the situation a little more closely, but I beat her to it. I cupped the butterfly (a big one!) in my hands, and walked back out through the barn to a grassy place and set it on the leaves of a bush. 

MiMau had followed and had stopped twenty feet away to watch.
The butterfly flew down to the grass, stopped to taste some leftover raindrops, then fluttered closer to the cat (have butterflies no sense of self-preservation?) and perched on the stone wall. I was about to perform a second rescue when it took off, went over the wall and stopped on the gravel of the driveway. MiMau was on it like a shot. One pounce. I shooed her away but the butterfly was still, flat against the gravel where her two front feet had caught it.
I felt awful.

But I thought it would be a good opportunity to get a closer look at this beauty, so I picked it up and tried to spread its wings. I was surprised that they weren't floppy; there was some resistance. 
It was alive! Its little feet clung to my fingertip.
What a beautiful thing. 
MiMau had gone away, but not too far away. 
I carried my Mourning Cloak butterfly to the woodpile and while MiMau looked the other way, perched it/her/him on top of the highest log.

Then I came inside and found this picture that shows, so well, its richly colored mahogany brown wings with the glowing blue dots and the lacy-looking creamy yellow edges. I've never seen one before. 
Later, I checked MiMau for butterfly breath. 
I do have some hope that I made some contribution to seeing some of these beauties next year.


MourningCloack4.jpg

10 comments:

Suze said...

That is just beautiful beyond words. (Though look at us here, trying.)

Wanda..... said...

This past spring I saw several hovering around the trunk of a large tree in the woods, sipping dripping sap. I've read they are some of the first butterflies to appear in the spring and have dark coloured bodies and wings to help in the solar heating of themselves.

Hilary said...

That is a gorgeous creature. I'm glad you cared enough to protect it.

Tamara said...

How beautifful! No matter how we try to mimic nature or even to portray it in art, God still is the Master Artist.

Olga said...

very pretty--glad you spared it and shared it with us.

Linda said...

So very pretty. It seems like there are less butterflies than when I was a kid. I very seldom see them around here, but always saw them when I was young.

Barb said...

You have thwarted Mimau once again!

#1Nana said...

Where have all the butterflies gone? Your cat can't take credit/blame for all of the missing! I rarely see a butterfly anymore.

June said...

I'm so happy that you all liked him/her/it! The richness of butterfly colors is just amazing to me, as is so much of nature.

Wanda, thanks for that info. Gee...several at once? You lucky woman.

Barb, I thwart MiMau about 15% of the time. She's still way out ahead of me. But that's fine. That's what cats do.

I think there are still butterflies all around, Linda and Nana. When was the last time you spent time lolling around in a green meadow the way you did when you were a little kid? If you aren't looking you might not see them.

Pauline said...

The diversity of nature never ceases to amaze me! Glad you were able to prolong the beauty of this one for a bit longer.