while i was sitting out with the ducks around sunset i noticed a butterfly lighted on some plantain under the grape arbor. it caught my eye because the undersides of its wings were a beautiful rosy red. i kneeled down to take a picture and it stayed very still. after a few shots with the lens nearly touching it it stayed perfectly still and i thought it was dead. i gently pushed one of its wings with my finger so that i could get a look at the tops of the wings. i moved the wings just enough to see the telltale eyespot of the common buckeye. usually buckeyes are mostly tan on their underwings but after looking at some pictures on the BAMONA website (butterflies and moths of north america) it seems that they occasionally have red underwings. so this not so common buckeye turned out to be alive but in bad shape. part of one of its wings was missing and it had a bent antenna. staal had never seen one this color either and because it was injured he decided to pull up the plant it was resting on and put it somewhere we could keep an eye on it. as he was removing the plant the butterfly crawled onto his hand and seemed content to stay for awhile and even a bit reluctant to leave. maybe it could sense staal's strong affinity for butterflies.
after a minute or two staal was able to coax the little guy off his finger and onto some sage blossoms.
a beautiful creature. i'm happy we crossed paths.