Monday, June 19, 2017

Butterfly on Concrete

Another cloudy humid day, and a brisk walk to refresh the mind.

There is a nice flat sidewalk in along the group of office building that permits me to walk a quick 20 minute mile. The view on one side is that of the Parkway, the other side has boring office buildings, separated by grassy expanses and a railway line from the river Monongahela.
The large grassy stretch that separates the road from the road heading to downtown Pittsburgh is not just green today. It's speckled with yellow deervetch and pink clover. A whiff of clover comes by every now and then, as a mild breeze pushes it towards me. The air is still cool from the heavy rains of the previous night and early morning, but the humidity is starting to verge on unpleasant.

There, right in front, a black butterfly with bright orange red markings. I bend down and take a picture, then attempt to get it to move off the path, as I notice a couple of joggers headed towards me. The butterfly ineffectually flutters its wings and settles down on another part of the concrete. A jogger stops to watch me.

"Are you trying to catch him?" he asks.

"No, just trying to get it off the concrete and into the grass."

He bends down to mimic my action in moving towards the antenna tips of the butterfly to get it to start fluttering away. After a couple of tries, success.The butterfly moves to the grass by the side of the path, where it is less likely to be trodden upon by joggers who might not see it.

"Thanks", I call out to the jogger as he continues on his run.

I reach a turnaround point and start walking back to my office.

The butterfly is back on the concrete again. This time, I continue past it. "It's your choice, buddy. I'm not going to force you into the grass if the concrete is where you want to be."

There is something to be said for the doggedness of the butterfly, no silly flutterby mind, this.

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

P.S. More on the habits of the Red admiral, it feeds on bird droppings among other things, and the concrete of the path is often covered with droppings from geese landing and feeding on the lawns near the buildings. Mystery of why the butterfly preferred the concrete to the grass solved!

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