Monday, September 21, 2020

Buttercream, the Cloudless Sulphur

While on our family walk the other day we saw a "topper-ed nate" (translation: copperhead snake) squished on the road, which was less than pleasant, but we also found a cloudless sulphur butterfly, which was pleasant. 

It was just sitting on the road, so I urged it onto my finger (because sitting on my finger is safer than sitting in the middle of the road). They migrate south this time of year in droves, but not all of them make it and I'm not sure this little guy is one that is going to get much farther south. Perhaps he's considering hunkering down for the winter here (some do). Perhaps it's an older butterfly and doesn't have another migration left in 'em. Perhaps it was simply too chilly of an evening for flying. 

Whatever the case, the children dubbed him (or her) "Buttercream" and we brought him home with us.

Zoë bravely carried him home on her finger. Here she is so happy to be holding him:

And here she is getting worried because he was shifting his weight:


He kept unfurling his proboscis so when we got home we mixed up some nectar (honey+water) for it...

And it flailed around until it found the little nectar puddle and then jabbed in its proboscis and drank deeply for several minutes.

Then we coaxed it to climbed onto a stick and then stuck that stick in a jar

Zoë has been keeping him in her room and it's still doing alive and well, content to just sit on its stick and occasionally take a sip of nectar. We're hoping things will warm up a little and then we'll see if it wants to fly away south or not.

Here's Zoë with Buttercream before bed (note her wings):

My kids are clearly very inventive with names. Our last butterfly was named "Buttercup" and this butterfly is "Buttercream." 

When I asked Zoë what she thought the name should be she said, "I don't know. I don't think butterflies have a list of names to choose from so I'm not sure that they name their children."

That's probably true. I know of no database for butterfly names (aside from, like, scientific names). 

So far we have Buttercup and Buttercream. If we go with that theme we can come up with several more butterfly names: Butterbeer, Butterscotch, Buttermilk, Butterball, Butternut, Butterfinger...

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