Friday, April 18, 2008

Jump Start


April 15th, I saw the first butterflies of the year, velvety brown and glowing with sunlight. Glimpses were quick and fleeting, prompting me to resort to a field guide to get any kind of detail beyond cream and brown. Mysteries beyond the blue dot count were resolved--Mourning Cloak butterflies get their jump start on spring by overwintering in cracks and crevasses. Their ability to generate body heat by shivering allows them to creep out of hiding to find a patch of sunlight for further warming.
The round-lobed hepatica performs a similar feat; it's living leaves persist through the winter. Under an insulation of snow, it lies ready and waiting to glean energy from the first shafts of sunlight to reach its leaves in the spring thaw. Taking full advantage, flowers were up and ready by April 14th just a few short days after its first appearance amidst a sea of slush and ice.

6 comments:

citrine said...

Lovely drawings!

I have a butterfly obsessed child; we just read about mourning cloaks in one of the many butterfly books we check out of the library.

kaslkaos said...

Take her to the woods, and one may land on her hand. This happened to me last Friday. At this time of year, on a warm day, you should be able to find them easily in the woods. They are sunbathing.

quiltbug said...

I'm enjoying Spring vicariously through your artwork. It is beautiful. I am a former birder and wild flower(er) who needs to get out and active again. Your ravens really caught my eye. Thanks for the details and the link to the bird count.

Audrey (one of Cindy's quilting buddies)
Markham

kaslkaos said...

Hi Quiltbug! I've heard much about you, and so happy to hear you're enjoying this, but really, you need to get out in the woods again. Always nice to know that someone's reading this. Thank you muchly for your comment.
I have good news for you. I saw the raven again today. It soared directly overhead muttering to itself. They are BIG! It was in the Eldred King Woodlands.

quiltbug said...

I think Cindy is going to go for a walk with me one of these weeks. We need to coordinate our schdules first. I would love to see the raven.

I hope you've only heard the good things about me. LOL

kaslkaos said...

Quiltbug, I've heard nothing but good stuff about you...honest ;-)
I saw the raven again on Apr 28th, Eldred King Woodlands. So the Hwy48 parking lot would be a good place to start.

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