Butterflies at Little Piney

Tammy Brown

Sweet freedom whispered in my ear
You’re a butterfly
And butterflies are free to fly
Fly away, high away, bye bye

–Elton John and Bernie Taupin, 1975


I love how much I’m learning at Little Piney! With every butterfly, wildflower, bird, bug, and animal I discover at Little Piney, I find out more about the natural world. This week I’ve been studying butterflies. I looked back through my photographs to find the butterflies I’ve seen at Little Piney and began identifying them one by one. Here are some of the lovely lepidopterans from Little Piney.

This Goatweed Leafwing  is a beautiful red-orange until it closes its wings and disappears into the brown oak leaves.  They seemed to have moved on after I saw them in March.

Goatweed Leafwing almost disappears in the leaves at Little Piney
Goatweed Leafwing
Goatweed Leafwing butterfly at Little Piney, Bastrop TX
Goatweed Leafwing butterfly

I saw the beautiful Red Admiral and the Common Buckeye in March as well.

Red Admiral butterfly at Little Piney, Bastrop TX
Red Admiral
Common Buckeye at Little Piney, Bastrop TX
Common Buckeye










The Pipeline Swallowtail arrived in May with it’s stunning black, orange, and blue color scheme.

Pipeline Swallowtail at Little Piney, Bastrop TX

Pipeline Swallowtail at Little Piney, Bastrop TX




In May I photographed the small Gray Hairstreak



Question mark butterfly at Little Piney, Bastrop TX
Question mark butterfly

Grey Hairstreak butterfly at Little Piney, Bastrop TX

and an Question Mark butterfly that looks like a dried leaf.


Question mark butterfly Bastrop TX
Question Mark Butterfly Bastrop TX


This Fiery Skipper caught my eye in June on the same day as this Common Checkered Skipper. Until I did my research, I thought they were both moths because they had wide bodies and were fuzzy. . It seems the most reliable way to tell a butterfly from a moth is by looking closely at the antennae. Butterfly antenna are longer and have little knobs at the end.

Fiery Skipper at Little Piney, Bastrop TXMountain Checkered Skipper at Little Piney, Bastrop TX








And today I saw this large Variegated Fritillary land in the cedar tree above me. I couldn’t get a clear photo, but even this blurry one shows what a beautiful creature the Variegated Fritillary is.

Variegated Fritillary at Little Piney, Bastrop TX


Check out the wonderful website Butterflies and Moths of North America for help identifying your own butterfly and moth discoveries.  Your submissions go into a data base for population research.


  1. Beautiful photography. I am new to the area, coming from the hot, dry, flatlands if West Texas.
    What are the tiny butterflies that are moving northward along the River. We first noticed them yesterday afternoon, continuing until dark and again this morning as the sun warmed the trees very shy, so no pictures. Thousands of them.

    1. Thank you, Tahiti. Welcome to a greener part of Texas! Probably Snout-nosed butterflies! Apparently recent rains increased their population this year.

%d bloggers like this: