Multiple heavy storms this week have my friends complaining, “Enough water!” but by some fluke of nature, promising dark clouds bypassed my neighborhood day after day, time and again. So this afternoon when a nice steady rain started up, I welcomed it readily.
One benefit of the need to be out watering yesterday morning was the enjoyment of seeing bees and hummingbirds sipping from the flowers. I also spotted a beautiful butterfly atop Echinacea purpurea, so came back out later with my camera. I welcome corrections because my identification skills are woefully undeveloped and potentially unreliable, but according to me, this one is Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia).
Common Buckeyes are found all over the United States, except in the Northwest. And supposedly here in the south where I live, they are well, rather true to their name, common; however, I do not see them commonly, so one picture was not enough.
When the butterfly is fresh its eye spots have a lavender tint.
Here the butterfly is sharing politely with a bee. There is a little sliver missing from its upper left wing.
Eventually the butterfly drifted toward the ground to light upon Phlox subulata (Moss Phlox).
Its ventral wing coloring is lighter in spring and summer, helping to camouflage itself. In fall and winter the color darkens to a rosier hue.
Another insect that caught my attention yesterday was the Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus). It is also is found abundantly in this area of North Carolina. For the longest time I tried to discern shades of coloring and markings (chevrons, smudges, spots?) to identify if this is male or female. Still not sure, but I am guessing female.
The club-shaped ends of the antennae are black on the outside and orange on the inside.
I will close with a look at one flower I am especially enjoying this week. It is a striking shade of my favorite garden color—blue. The black calyces and stems add contrast and drama.