Monday, June 11, 2007 — 10:35 am
Nachusa Grasslands — Lee County, Illinois
I didn’t have my field guide with me, and I never would have known to look for this butterfly except that a poster in the kiosk by the parking lot mentioned it. Nachusa Grasslands is one of only four places in Illinois where the Regal Fritillary can be found. I looked at the poster and got a fair idea of its field marks.
I’m pretty sure I saw one when I was out in the prairie. But I know I saw four of them when I got to the back side and followed a dirt and grass track into a brushy area near some woods. They were flying around in the open over bushes and grass. For a time, three of them were chasing each other near the path. I never saw one land, so I didn’t get a photo, and they were moving too fast to even get a great look at.
Their size alone is a good field mark. They were large. The wings were rounded — bright orange on the forewing and black with white spots on the hindwing, which is a distinctive mark.