Excerpts from a story in The Washington Post this week:
It all started on July 7, 2007, when a red admiral landed on my shirt collar as I walked along 19th Street NW near the office where I worked. This was a busy area of office buildings and automobiles, with little vegetation. It seemed an unlikely setting for a butterfly.Continued at the link. Hat tip to friend Tod.
To my amazement, day after day after that, if I returned home before dark, the butterfly, which I recognized by one tattered wing, would come out from the garden to greet me...When my little friend didn’t take off after a half-hour or so, I had my picture snapped with it at a photography shop and then took it across the street into a restaurant. I called my wife from the steakhouse to tell her that I was coming home early and that I was bringing a butterfly. On M Street NW, I managed to get into a cab without dislodging my passenger. The butterfly shifted from my collar to my necktie, and we headed out Canal Road to my home in Maryland.
Most remarkable perhaps is that red admirals have also visited me in Minnesota and New York. On July 4, 2010, two showed up at my mother-in-law’s 90th birthday celebration in St. Paul. They landed on no one but me. The same thing happened on the eve of my daughter’s wedding in Upstate New York...
But the problem with the chemical [attraction to sweat] explanation is that the butterflies seem to wait for me, on my car or a bush, while I’m more than 20 feet away looking at them through a window. At that point, I’m clearly not projecting anything chemical very far. As soon as I go outside, they tend to alight on me...
Top photo: Vanessa atalanta collecting solar energy on our deck railing.
Below: Partially camouflaged underside displayed while enjoying a rotten banana.
BTW, butterfly posts should resume in the near future. There have been four sightings already in Wisconsin - two Compton Tortoiseshells, and two Mourning Cloaks. If I work in the back garden near the woods on Monday, I wouldn't be surprised to encounter a Mourning Cloak.