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West Coast Lady (Vanessa annabella) Émilie Keas photo

The work to save Chavez Park from the BMASP proposals has taken me and some other Conservancy volunteers to the park more often with clipboards and pens than with cameras and tripods. I in particular have short-changed nature. And nature is what we’re fighting for. So, to make amends, I’ll be publishing some nature photography in the next few summer days.

Photographer Émilie Keas, whose work has appeared here several times, was walking along the paved perimeter trail some time back when she spotted what she thought at first was a colorful pebble. On closer examination it turned out to be a beautiful butterfly, a West Coast Lady. We’ve only published one previous photo of this butterfly in the park, in June 2021. I couldn’t do better than the writeup in that post, so I’m shamelessly repeating it here:

The West Coast Lady is one of the “Lady” butterflies. Others in our area include the more well-known Painted Lady and the American Lady. As the name implies, it makes its home on the West Coast, which in this case can stretch all the way into western Kansas and Nebraska. The adults feed on flower nectar, and are happy with just about any flowers that produce it. The female lays her eggs on the top surface of a range of native plants, with various kinds of Mallow (Malva) high on her list of favorites. The park has a good supply of Malva, so this lady probably does well here.

The nomenclature of this butterfly breaks with the male primacy rule in bird names, where a female bears a male name, such as Kingfisher. A West Coast Lady male remains a West Coast Lady. The males are quite territorial and fight with each other over the best nectaring and sunbathing spots. They live only a month or so in the summer, maybe 5 months over a mild winter.

More about them: Wikipedia ArtShapiro BAMONA Calscape

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