Butterfly hotspot

The viceroy butterfly looks similar to the monarch but they are smaller and have black lines across their hindwing.

I have been spending a lot of time lately at Limestone Park walking the trails with my son as my wife, Colleen, trains for an upcoming race.

Baby William and I have been amazed the past few weeks to witness an explosion of blooms and butterflies at the park.

Butterflies are common all along the 1-mile loop trail, but there are a few plants we search for that seem to be favorites for the butterflies this time of year.

Those plants include — obedient plant, Missouri ironweed, cardinal flower and pasture thistle.

If you find a cluster of any of theses species, you’re almost guaranteed to see three to four butterfly species floating around nearby.

At Limestone Park, William and I have documented monarchs, viceroys, common buckeyes, hackberry emperors, tiger swallowtails, black swallowtails, spicebush swallowtails, dainty sulfurs, southern dogface sulfurs, American snouts, zabulon skippers, Delaware skippers, silver spotted skippers and common Sootywings. There also are question marks, commas, little wood satyrs and red spotted purples this summer.

This does not include the countless moths, beetles, bees and other interesting insects using this same habitat that we encounter regularly.

Our walks are a regular butterfly safari, and with William only being 20 months, we walk slow and take in as much as possible.

Before summer is over, I encourage you and your family to get outside and do a butterfly walk.

It can be anywhere.

Don’t pressure yourself with identification.

You can notice the different sizes, colors and patterns of each species. It is fun, healthy and soul nourishing.

Reach Trevor Edmonson at trevoredmonson@gmail.com.

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