Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Tawny Emperor

A large limb from an Arizona ash fell down in my yard a couple of days ago. The tree grows fast but is not especially suited to Central Texas, which is too wet part of the year and drier in other parts of the year than its native riparian habitat in the desert west. It's a streambed tree in the desert. Here, it suffers from borers most of the year and drought stress in the summer. Anyway, this tree is diseased, and is soon to be firewood.

I have been avoiding sawing up the fallen limb, about 30 feet long with 2 big branches, because of the heat, which has reached 100+ on my backyard thermometer for several days now. And the humidity is high. But this morning I got out with my chain saw, and set to work. Of course the wood is dry, which makes for slow going. So I was sweating, and chainsawing, and I was soon seeing butterflies.

Actual butterflies.

I was disturbing them. So after a while I stopped to wring out my handkerchief headband which was dripping sweat in my eyes, and saw that they settled back down on the trunk of the tree. Lots of them. So I went in and got my camera, and took some photos. Most of them did not come out--the butterflies have a knack of moving at intervals that defeat the focus-delay on my camera. But here's one.

It was a good excuse to go inside and try to identify it.

I'll finish the chainsaw work tomorrow morning.

Tawny Emperor (Asterocampa clyton) on ash tree
Asterocampa clyton

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