Each year I eagerly await spotting my first butterfly of the year. Living in Middle Georgia my first butterfly sighting usually occurs in February. This year the big event took place February
The first butterfly I saw was a sleepy orange. This was not surprising as the sleepy orange is one of the most common butterflies seen in my Middle Georgia backyard. Unlike most other species, some adult sleepy oranges overwinter as adults. On warm winter days they will emerge and fly about only to return to a safe, dry place once the temperatures drop.
On the day I saw the butterfly, temperatures were in the 70s and it felt more like spring than winter.
This sleepy orange looked somewhat different from the last one I saw last fall. The undersides of the hindwings of those butterflies were bright yellow with brown markings. In contrast, the butterfly I saw was the winter form of the sleepy orange; its underwings were tan.
With warm temperatures forecast for at least the next week or so, coupled with the fact the sleepy orange can be seen throughout much of the state throughout the year, one might just show up in your backyard in the near future.