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Friday, 3 April 2020

Our First Mourning Cloak of the Spring

     Behind our house is a short section of the Trans Canada Trail, locally known as the Benjamin Park Trail, very convenient, and popular with cyclists, dog walkers, joggers, people out for a stroll and birders like us.




     Yesterday, Miriam and I walked it and saw our first Mourning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa) of the spring. This species, known as Camberwell Beauty in Britain, is reliably our first butterfly of the season.



     It characteristically lands on the ground with wings outspread, very pleasing for a photographer. Males frequently attack others of their species, and will even engage in threat-posturing to humans.



     It was good to see them in pristine condition, before their wings get worn and ragged as the season progresses.
     The bird life was not characterized by anything unusual, but this male Downy Woodpecker (Dryobates pubescens) was busy with nest construction.



     A Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula) seemed to derive great pleasure from bathing.



     Along this trail at least, everyone seemed to have taken social distancing to heart and moved to the side to maintain the recommended two-metre space. An alien visiting Earth could well have been forgiven for thinking that humans are an unfriendly lot! I suspect that we might appear unsociable for a few more weeks yet!

63 comments:

  1. It will be a while before we have butterflies!

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  2. What a delightful interlude.
    I have a huge weakness for flutterbyes and often struggle to take their photo.
    Your woodpecker and the grackle certainly classify as unusual to me - and are very welcome.
    Thank you.

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  3. The woodpecker is the happiest of the lot, building its seasonal nest.

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  4. What a great trail. Love the woodpecker.

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  5. I was intrigued by the name of your post, but certainly didn't expect to see a beautiful butterfly! I guess it gets its name from the wing colouring and not because the males attack each other.
    I love watching birds bathing - they make such an art of it and each species does it differently.
    Enjoy your day :)

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  6. Hi David! Glad to hear that people are keeping their distance. The butterfly is beautiful, not one I know. And you got to see birds, what could be better? I have only seen crows, pigeons and blue tits from my window, but I can hear the ducks on the stream. Have a great weekend and stay safe! Hugs, Valerie

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  7. Hi David - beautiful Mourning Cloak - amazing butterfly. I've seen one or two here, and listened to the bees in a flowering cherry as I walked around yesterday. Wonderful trails you've got in Canada, which I was lucky to experience. Great memories of the landscape - take care ... Hilary

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  8. There is also a distance of 2 meters between us in Poland.
    Beautiful photos. I wish you health.

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  9. Beautiful photos of the Mourning Cloak. It comes here in the summertime too, David. Can you please ask Miriam how much a cup contains? Here we use deciliter in resipies.

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  10. An excellent place. It will probably be at least a month this distancing experience.

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  11. Hari OM
    This may have been one of your shortest posts to date, David - but every bit as sweet!!! YAM xx

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  12. That butterfly certainly did the right thing, nice to see.

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  13. Hi David.

    Beautiful Butterfly and Birds.

    Greeting from Patricia.

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  14. How wonderful to see that butterfly!

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  15. That trail certainly gives you enough information before you set out! You're right that we call them Camberwell Beauties but I'd count myself very fortunate to see one. They are not native but some from Europe end up in the East of the country some years. I've lived in the East of England all my life but I've yet to encounter any! However we live in hope.

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    1. I hadn't realized that it was a rarity in Britain, John. I really have to get myself a book on the lepidoptera of Europe.

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    2. In the meantime you could do a lot worse than visit the following website:
      https://ukbutterflies.co.uk/index.php
      It probably has all the information you'll ever need, but will also point you in the direction of the best books on the subject if you have any space on your shelves!

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    3. Thanks, John, I will check it out.

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  16. Hi David!
    The butterfly is beautiful! Glad to hear that people keep their distance. I also try my best to keep the rules. I am part of the risk group and I don't want to overpower my safe area.
    Have a great weekend and stay safe! Greetings to Miriam!

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  17. Hello, David! Beautiful butterfly and a great find. I love the Downy Woodpecker and the Grackle, great photos. I am not seeing many butterflies here.
    It is nice you have the trail so close, we have to drive now that our closer trail closed. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Take care, stay safe! Enjoy your day, wishing you a happy weekend. PS, thank you for the commend and visit.

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  18. This morning I spotted some butterflies as well. Spring is a wonderful time!

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  19. The first butterfly of spring -- now that's a sighting! And beautiful, too. The trail looks lovely. As I was watching the international space station fly overhead last night, I wondered what they would think if they could look down on a typical day and see fewer cars on the road, people walking together apart, the quiet. How odd their return will be.

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  20. A a wonderful sight to see the butterfly. I imagine it will be awhile before we see one here.
    Enjoy the weekend and stay safe!

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  21. Hello. Beautiful butterfly and great birds. It is so good if people keep their distance. Then everyone can walk safely.
    Take care.

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  22. Hello David, that is indeed a wonderful butterfly, love the colours of it, and a loverley patern. The Downy Woodpecker is a beauty. Good you are able to enjoy this so close to home. And yes I am afraid that we will have to act in this way for much more weeks. Until there is a vaccin things and our behaviour will be totaly different.
    Stay healthy,
    Regards,
    Roos

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  23. Your beautiful butterfly reminds me of the 'valey of the butterflies' on the greek island of Rhodes. The place, a unique nature reserve is certainly worth a visit.

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  24. I don't think I've ever seen that species of butterfly. Great shots of birds too. How nice to have that trail nearby.

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  25. What a beautiful butterfly and so beautiful in the picture David.
    You also have the birds in the picture.
    We will also stay at home here.
    Stay healthy, greetings Tinie

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  26. El maravilloso mundo del despertar de la primavera amigo David. Me encantó la mariposa una buena muestra de que estamos en primavera, el pájaro carpintero preparando su nido para criar y el amigo Quiscalus quiscul con su baño, todos de una forma u otra celebrando esta hermosa primavera a la que los humanos nos vemos por desgracia a renunciar de sus bellezas confinados en nuestras casas. Un precioso paseo y muy cerca de vuestra casa.
    Un fuerte abrazo queridos amigos y compadres y cuidaros mucho.

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  27. Il est très beau ce papillon, je ne l'ai jamais vu ici.
    Bonne soirée

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  28. Thanks for reminding me of the British name, I had never heard Mourning Cloak before. Beautiful pic. Nice to see the woodpecker busy but you can keep the grackle.

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  29. Keep safe, David, fortunately you’re work takes you to places where it must not be too difficult to be safe, I should think. Yes, I can see this taking three more months at least. Sadly, it does not make a great deal of difference to our lives, except for my writing which is increasing in quantity and quality through constant practice. King regards, Carole 🤗

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  30. A Mourning Cloak....how gorgeous! We are seeing so many butterflies here and I came home and got the book out to ID some for another post. Glad you have a nice trail to hike....most of ours are closed now. Even those that no one walked on. Take care and stay healthy!

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  31. Tienes suerte en tu paseo, yo paseo en el jardín. Besos.

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  32. A lovely spring visitor for your walk! I see some people here are not taking the virus serious so I steer clear of them...Have a great week.

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  33. A beautiful butterfly and birds. As always, great Miriam photos.
    There are only bans in my country. It is forbidden to ride a bike, run, go for walks in the park, forest, on the boulevards. In Poland, there is also a 2-meter distance at the exit to the store or doctor.
    In my country, the rulers are now addressing presidential elections by correspondence, and people must stay at home so that they don't rebel. Only the birds are happy and sing wonderfully.
    Hugs and greetings to Miriam and for you.

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    1. Right now it is still relatively easy to move around here, but a few more restrictions seem to be imposed each day. Some seem to make little sense and as we get into warmer weather people are probably going to defy orders to stay inside. Stay well, Lucja, and stay cheerful.

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  34. I've had the pleasure of seeing a Mourning Cloak in France on a couple of occasions, David, but (as mentioned above) it is a real rarity in UK. I've always understood the english name to come from its first UK sighting being in the Camberwell district of London - but I may be wrong! Whatever, it is a fabulous butterfly to behold, so thank you for showing it here.

    I hope that all is OK with you both, and you're coping with the frustration of restrictions. We're doing fine here so far. My very best wishes - - - Richard

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    1. It is quite common here in the early spring, Richard. It is always quite wonderful to see the first one.

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  35. Hi David, beautiful butterflies and bird. It's nice to have such a trail to the parc. Thank you for your visits. Keep safe. Greets Caroline

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  36. hello David
    beautiful butterfly, also nice that the signs indicate the approximate time for hiking, I think that's good
    stay healthy
    Regards Frank

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  37. The sight of the first butterfly in the spring is always exciting. I think doubly so this spring.

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  38. Hi Both,
    Always so pleasing to see an early butterfly, makes us think the Winter is at last gone and we can look forward to summer, hope you are both keeping safe and well, so frustrating being unable to visit the Osprey.
    All the best to you both
    John

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  39. I do wish I had close access to places like this - all a bit urban around here!

    Hope you are well - Stewart M - Melbourne

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  40. A lovely trail to have and good to see the Butterfly, i've seen a few over the garden this past weekend, but they've not settled so I can tell what they are! Seeing a Woodpecker would be a highlight for me on any walk :)

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  41. Mourning cloak is one of my favorite butterflies. So far I have not seen it where I live this spring.

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  42. What a joy to see this beautiful butterfly, the first of the season and sitting so still. I hope you will be allowed to continue walking this trail.

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  43. Hello David,
    what a beautiful butterfly this funeral mantle is. I have never seen this butterfly myself and it will not occur in the Netherlands. I also like to see woodpeckers ;-) But your last bird is also one that you can photograph very beautifully.

    Be careful David and stay safe.
    A big hug from the Netherlands xo

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  44. No es muy largo, el trayecto, para entrar en la Naturaleza y encontrar esas hermosas aves y tsmbiémn como se vé, alguna preciosa mariposa.

    Besos

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  45. Hola David! Such a beautiful post. I want to go to a place like this right now jaja 😍 and lie down on the grass and listen to the birds sing ❤️ Nature is the most beneficial emotional state. Butterflies are wonderful, too! Saludos desde Buenos Aires, Argentina

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  46. Beautiful butterfly. Still too early and too cool for the butterflies. Birds I've seen at in the backyard: cardinals, black-capped chickadees (state bird here), sparrows, goldfinches, robins. I've heard woodpeckers. Take care.

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  47. Underbara bilder David, här fladdrar också fjärilar i trädgården.

    Tack för att du hörde av dig, du är en fin vän! Det är ingen fara med mig men jag och min man har suttit i självvald karantän i drygt tre veckor nu. Vi tillhör riskgruppen pga ålder och speciellt min man som inte skulle klara av en infektion. Han opererades två gånger i fjol för cancer varav en var lungcancer. Han lider dessutom av KOL så en infektion skulle inte sluta bra.
    Vi bor ju bra med långt avstånd till andra människor, naturen är smittfri! Sonen har hittills handlat mat en gång i veckan men blir det långvarigt, vilket vi nog får räkna med så blir det besvärligt.
    Därtill har jag saknat inspiration för att blogga, tycker jag bara upprepar mig och då blir det tråkigt. Jag är nu en gång sådan att jag behöver känna att jag utvecklas men jag är inte beredd att sluta - ännu i alla fall men jag behövde pausa. Det skall ju vara roligt!

    Din mailadress fungerar inte från min dator så därför får du mitt svar såhär.

    Tack än en gång David, sänder kramar till dig och din fru och hoppas att ni tar väl hand om er i dessa tider.

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    1. I am very happy to know that you are well, Gunilla, and that you and your husband are dealing with this imposed isolation as best you can. This period of imprisonment must end at at some point, but I suspect we will be dealing with it for a few more weeks, possibly even months. i am not sure why my email address does not work for you. Maybe send me yours if you feel comfortable doing so, and we can see if we can get it to work in reverse. In any event, the important things is that you are well.

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  48. Qué bella y a la vez algo extraña combinación de colores que tiene la mariposa!

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  49. Hi David,
    Great to have this park so nearby! The Mourning Cloak is a butterfly I have never seen! Gorgeous! I also like the Woodpecker, and lovely to see the Common Grackle taking a bath....Very relaxing all!
    Take care!
    Regards
    Maria

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  50. It's nice to have trails in your neighbourhood. My husband and I just got back from trying a short trail in our neighbourhood. - Margy

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    1. Neighbourhood trails are more important than ever.

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  51. Obserwacja ptaków i wiosenny spacer są wielką radością. Wzbudzają w nas tyle pozytywnej energii. Te motyle obserwuję często, jak kwitnie jabłoń w moim ogrodzie.

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  52. ...keeping your distance is being practiced here too, people are waving to each other as they past by with plenty of space to spare. Take care David and stay safe.

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  53. It's great that you have a trail so near you. And that people keep social distance. So have here in Finland too.

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