About this time of year, when the foliage turns color and leaves begin to fall, and temperatures plummet, one of our most extraordinary moths begins to fly. By now, most leps - butterflies and moths - are spent, their numbers and diversity way down from summer's peak.
A recent foray into Shawnee State Forest with John Howard and Janet Creamer - meeting up with Dave Riepenhoff in the forest - had a primary objective: Buck Moth!
An unseasonably warm day did bring out plenty of late season butterflies, soon to give their last gasps. This lovely dove-gray critter is a Gray Hairstreak, Strymon melinus, sipping nectar from our most common aster, White Heath Aster, Symphyotrichum pilosum.
Buck Moths come out late. Here in Ohio, they probably just starting flying a week ago, and they'll continue to remain active until well into November and the first true freezes and plummeting temperatures. It is said that their common names stems from the fact that the adults fly when the buck White-tailed Deer begin to rut.
Anyway, I hope a Buck Moth crosses your path this fall.