A Deathly Silence

Posted: July 13, 2009 in butterflies, macro photography
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Butterfly Drought Continues

I had the day off and wasn't intending to lug my camera out today.  But the lack of subjects for the past 2 days irritated me.  This is the first time I've had to hit the fields 3 days in a row to get a few pitling subjects.

What was worse today was that it hadn't rained all day and yet there was very little activity.

Note on photo above:  Ordinarily, I wouldn't spend time to shoot some of these skittish common species.  But today it was extremely tame.  I don't know if that has anything to do with the lack of butterfly activity.

Worthy Of Investigation

Other than a terrible craving for butterflies, I also figured it would be worthy to note down a few observations around the 'dead' sites:

1) Plants were flowering.  Even though I'm not an expert on plants, there are a few spots that I frequent often enough to remember the multiple times over a few months where I would always find the same species hanging around. Today there was none at the usual spots even though the plants were flowering.  Not even skippities.

Note on photo above:  This was one of the few butterflies photographed in a 'depression' of weeds off the beaten path where I would usually go to.  This was one the few few spots where butterflies were hanging around.

2) It was dead silent.  There were no cicadas singing in the 'dead' spots and no birds in the trees as far as I could hear  For what reason I'm not sure.  But it was creepily silent.  And it had been silent since yesterday.  Only the wind blew gustily away.  I strayed off the trail to an abandoned house where the silence persisted.  The silence was so abnormal it was unnerving and I quickly walked away.

Note on photo above:  In the 'depression', there were about at least 3 or 4 short banded sailors as far as I could spot.  If you look closely at the leaf it's perched on as well as the photos of the leaves attached below, you'll see fine specks of powder or white fluff on the stems and leaves.  I have no idea what these are but they didn't cause me any discomfort (so far… it's been about 10 hours).

3) The butterflies were in very small pockets in certain areas only.  And then few steps away, there was nothing.  I found only one skipper at a road junction on the way up the hill to the usual site.  That was the oddest place to find anything.  But there were several butterflies hanging around there as if there was some kind of invisible border.

Note on photo above: The Ambon Onyx made one appearance, hopped in the same spot about 2 or 3 times and then bade goodbye.

4) There was only one site where activity was less but at least there was some activity.  There was only one very faded chipped up Ambon Onyx, several dogfighting Biggs' Brownies and Judys.  The activity was much better than yesterday and I was relieved.

5) Where there was almost nil butterfly activity, there was also almost nil activity for everything else.  No bees, no wasps, very few moths, no grasshoppers (this is one of the first times where stomping around in the undergrowth didn't yield a few frightened grasshoppers flying out from underfoot to get away), no cicada and no birds.  It seems almost as if whatever was affecting the butterflies was also affecting everything else.

 I hope that this deathly silence doesn't last.

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Comments
  1. Waterbaby says:

    Eeeerie. If ever you figure out the cause of the spooky silence, let us know. It's much too early for Halloween. ;p

  2. Jaffnut says:

    Hey Ellen, I'm glad to see you're still out there taking those fabulous photos. Lots of things have changed for me over the past few months so I've decided to return to Vox. Hope you are well. (aka Michie)

  3. I still haven't figured it out… I do know that the weather's been playing up a lot… and I kinda suspect that some fogging is being done because of the number of mosquito borne ailments that are happening here… it's sad because the mossies actually get the virus from people. If you were living in a remote forest and were bitten by Aedes and Anopheles mosquitoes, you probably wouldn't get dengue or malaria… you have a higher chance of getting it if you were hanging around dense human populations. And then they kill all the butterflies, and other beautiful critters instead (not that they should get rid of the people … but seriously, an alternative solution is going to be needed …)

  4. Hey Michie, welcome back! Hope to see more of your posts soon! 😀

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