The warm weather which arrived on the 7th of February brought out two butterflies that winter as adults tucked away under tree bark or in small cavities in trees: a well-worn American Snout and an equally worn Questionmark. A very fresh Sleepy Orange was also seen and had apparently emerged from a chrysalis not long prior to being observed flying along the path on the north side of the Wetlands.
A paper wasp seen on February 2 was slowly walking along the pavement near the Red Wolf Exhibit in Explore the Wild. It would be several days before the arrival of the unusually warm weather that dominated this period but it was apparently warm enough for this wasp to be out and about, although not sufficiently warm for it to take flight. I poked at the wasp with my finger to which it responded with a less than vigorous attempt at stinging. By the 7th of February, I noticed several paper wasps flying about. Mated females of this type of wasp overwinter as adults, ready to assume the duties of a queen and start a new hive as soon as the weather permits.
I’d been seeing Honey Bees on and off during the winter, whenever the temps were in the 50s or higher, but noticed many more from the 7th of the month on. Honey Bees are active throughout the winter, spending the cold inside the hive, venturing out on warm days. Look for them on the Mahonia (above).