CATERPILLARS, WHALES, and BRITTLE STARS, no less!
I think I am on a Butterfly binge! I went hiking to check out the report that a whale had washed in on the rocks at the tip of Small Point. Though I was thinking "whales", I couldn't help but check out the plants and animals enroute to the site. One of the plants that was in bloom is known to be the preferred food for the Painted Lady Butterflies. I first discovered this connection on our island a couple of years ago. In examining the flowers of
Pearly Everlasting, I noticed some were sort of "woven" together. I pulled the mass apart and inside there was an extraordinary caterpillar! What was unusual about it, was that it had clumps of branched spines, green bands and red & white spots. Using Peterson's Field Guide to Caterpillars (one of my favorites), we identified it as an American Painted Lady. So, go out and look for Pearly Everlasting, and you may find a Painted Lady.

As for the whale, I did find it by following my nose since it was quite odiferous. I think it was a Beaked whale, though I was not positive. Unfortunately, it was rapidly deteriorating and difficult to get an overall view of the head and tail. I have a feeling that the carcass will not last long. Nature has a way of dealing with its dead if we allow it. Anyway, let it be known that whales are in our waters and occasionally die and wash ashore. It is probably just as well that this one landed out in a remote area, well away from vacationers.

My final entry is this delightful Brittle Star, again found in a Kelp holdfast. What a dragon-like creature of the sea! To learn more about these sea creatures, click here.

8/8/03 Ronnie