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southern arkansas: part 2 -- explosion at the butterfly factory

2004-04-22 - 7:46 a.m.

For part one of our southern Arkansas vacation, click here.

all photos 2004
by Elaine Radford and Roger Williams

pearl crescent butterfly orgy

Wednesday, April 14

We hiked a five mile round-trip on the Sunset Trail of West Mountain. It was too early for migrants, although we did stumble onto two good ones, Black-and-White Warbler and Black-Throated Green Warbler. I'm almost hesitant to describe this fine walk in too much detail, because we had it to ourselves, and it was truly something magical, but it's too good to leave out of my diary. The dogwoods and the wildflowers were in triumphant full bloom, and there were thousands upon thousands of flirting butterflies. At times we walked through clouds of Pearl Crescents like clouds of mosquitoes, but many other species were present -- Cloudless Sulphur, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Pipevine Swallowtail, other black Swallowtails, little blue species, wood-nymph or satyr species, various white butterflies, Falcate Orange-tips, and probably more that I don't remember at the moment.

cloudless sulphur (i think) -- it looked quite green in the forest 
light and could be a female

pearl crescent

a red wildflower that looks like stars on west mountain

single red wildflower like a star

some of the many wild violets of west mountain

One thing we learned is that, as I've suspected, bike riding and low impact exercise are no preparation at all for hiking up and down hills. I've got to figure out a better work-out, that will actually exercise muscles, without causing knee or ankle injuries, but such exercise is pretty hard to come by when you live in the flatlands.

In the afternoon, we visited a couple of rock shops. Wright's had nothing new and I was sorry to see that they hadn't put on the lights in the cabinets to better display some of their finer specimens, but we discovered a smaller rock shop with some spectacular clear quartz clusters big enough to frighten a Toyota.

We dined at Belle Arti, an Italian restaurant, where I enjoyed a wonderful lobster ravioli. It is amazing the changes in the quality of the food that have occurred in Arkansas since our last visit in November, 1993. It used to be that getting good food in the mountains was pretty much a lost cause, and if the restaurant boasted "grandma's" or "country" cooking, it would be particularly ghastly to the New Orleans palate. I guess I should have realized on Sunday when I got a good meal in Greenville, Mississippi that the world had indeed moved on.

relatively flat part of the sunset trail

Part Three of our trip to southern Arkansas, including a better look at our bed and breakfast, is coming up soon.

Hummingbird Report: Adult male RTHU at near feeder.

Chickadee Report: At least two large babies in the blue birdhouse. Two adults still harassing one or more Mockingbirds that enter the suet feeder/birdhouse area.

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