Thursday, June 24, 1999 — 11:25 am
Cary, Illinois — Hickory Grove Conservation Area
I was walking back to my car through the wood lot. I had just crossed over the long wooden boardwalk and hadn’t yet reached the small bridge over the muddy creek that runs through the wet woods. This butterfly crossed in front of me and landed on a low leaf along the path, about four feet away. It sat there motionessly for five minutes while I compared it to the field guide.
It was pale tan-brown. It had a submarginal row of black spots with white centers and tan edges on both underwings. The four spots on the upperwing were lined up vertically, with the lowest one largest, the top and third ones a bit smaller, and the second one smallest. The black circles did not touch. Just inside of the spots was a thin brown line that curved sinuously. It definitely did not zig-zag. I make a point of this because this line is the mark of an Appalacian Brown that distinguishes it from an Eyed Brown. The Eyed Brown is on the McHenry County list, but the Appalacian Brown is not. According to the map in the field guide, however, both species are to be expected in this area. After I convinced myself that I had seen a new butterly for the county, it disappeared while I was flipping through the book.