This is the underside of the Red Admiral. You can see that its bottom side resembles that of other members of genus Vanessa (the Ladies, such as the Painted Lady) in the True Brushfoot subfamily (Nymphalinae), even though the upper side has the pattern characteristically seen in the Admiral subfamily (Limentidinae).
I chased this very active individual for quite a while and only got this one good shot. It was very interested in this patch of Stinging Nettle (yes, I brushed against the evil plant getting the shot, so y'all better appreciate it :-) ). I was wondering if maybe it had something to do with the bird droppings (minerals?) -- there's a roost in the trees above. But it turns out that Stinging Nettle is the Red Admiral's larval foodplant (which would explain why I've also seen them at Bull's Island, which has large portions that are solid Stinging Nettle). And lo and behold, the extremely cool spiny caterpillar I captured on the nettle turns out to be a Red Admiral caterpillar.
Tiny little guys (~3 cm). Female (left) & male (right). They were definitely going about together. The female was slowly fanning her wings when I took this, while the male was just sitting there.
For Pearl vs Northern Crescent, I think these would be considered Pearl. The orange area in the hindwing here has some black lines, rather than being more open like a typical Northern. The only Northern records in NJ are in the NW highlands (this is SW lowlands). And Pearl usually have black antennal clubs (unlike the female here), but not always.
However, the plot thickens: turns out "Pearl Crescent" may actually be 2 species. Apparently some of the "Pearl Crescents" with orange club tips may actually be a separate species, called variously the Pearl Crescent Intermediate Form or the Summer Crescent. So the female here might be an example of one of these.
See excellent detailed discussion here from outdoors2magic.
But the male has black club tips, & thus looks like a bona fide Pearl. So if these individuals are different species, shouldn't somebody tell them that? (Granted, I didn't actually see them mating, just keeping company.) And if they have separate flight times, why am I seeing them together?
View large here. Butterfly came out great. Background, on the other hand, leaves something to be desired. This is probably a candidate for a cutout and background blur at some point, but right now I'm just trying to get through the backlog -- I'm taking pictures a lot faster than I'm getting them processed & posted.
I'm actually not sure if this is a Clouded or an Orange Sulphur, but I think such an orangy ventral forewing, especially on a female, probably indicates Orange. Wingspan ~5 cm.
Nectaring on Butterflybush at a friend's house (thanks, Jewel!) Tiny: typical wingspan is <3 cm (~1"). Butterflybush is somewhat atypical for this species, but I guess it was too good to resist!
"Caterpillar hosts: Many plants in the pea family including yellow sweet clover (Melilotus officinalis), alfalfa (Medicago sativa); various species of vetch (Vicia), clover (Trifolium), wild pea (Lathyrus), and bush clover (Lespedeza); and others.
Adult food: This butterfly has a low flight and a short proboscis, thus is found at flowers close to the ground which are open or short-tubed. These include white sweet clover, shepherd's needle, wild strawberry, winter cress, cinquefoils, asters, and others."
My first decent shot of a Black Swallowtail. I have such a huge backlog of photos to post; tonight I figured I'd at least post a token one, & I was in the mood for something big & flashy. View large here.