Looking a bit ragged now, Verbena bonariensis has been a hot spot in the garden for weeks. When not occupied by 7 or 8 American Goldfinches swaying gently on it, bees and butterflies are seen enjoying it.
I can’t seem to get a picture of the goldfinches but it has been fun to track the pollinators around even just after noon on this scorching day. Finding the verbena an irresistible lunch was today’s special visitor, a lovely Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes).
I did not think to use slow-motion video, but this 10-second clip will give you a sense of the butterfly’s fluttering lifestyle. (Also try setting the playback speed).
Before seeing this one today, I’ve observed three other Black Swallowtails (one on July 21, 2015 and believe it or not, two exactly a year apart on August 27, 2015 and August 27, 2016) and this caterpillar on July 20, 2015.
(By the way, it’s too late to tell me I shouldn’t have planted Aegopodium…just one of many garden aggressors.)
Are you observing lots of butterflies this summer?
Your photos and video are splendid, Susie. Sadly, since the swarm of painted ladies we had come up from Mexico in early spring, I’ve seen very few butterflies yet this season. Hopefully, I’ll see more when the Zinnias flower.
Zinnias are great for attracting butterflies, so that should help. I usually see more butterflies in late summer and early fall, so this has been unusual.
Beautiful butterfly, I haven’t seen many varieties over here yet.Our main season for butterflies is still to come, July/August/September, hopefully we will soon be seeing plenty.
Pauline, I usually spot more butterflies later in summer and into fall, so these early sightings are unusual.
I’m seeing bees but not butterflies. I have Bishop’s Weed too. I like to use it in container plantings, and it’s pretty easy to pull out when it gets busy moving around. 🙂
Hope the butterflies find their way up to see you soon Judy. The Bishop’s weed took over a bed many years ago, but I’ve never been able to reclaim it completely. I should have stuck to pots.
That is a great plant that attracts so much wildlife and people like it too. I have had years without butterflies, but the last two years have been good.
Yes, versatile plant. We had lots of rain this year (well, until lately) and I wondered if that could be helping the butterflies.
Well done with the lovely capture of the black Swallowtail. There were a lot of butterflies earlier but it seems to hit for them now. In France we saw Two tailed Pashas which was very exciting.
I looked up Two tailed Pashas–what a lovely creature. Lucky to spot them. I imagine you saw some interesting birds as well.
Great photos of the Black Swallowtail. I find it’s much easier to capture an image of Eastern Tiger Swallowtail than the Black one. I haven’t seen them around this season, but it’s still early for us.
Thanks Pris. I agree the Eastern Tiger is less frenetic and easier to photograph. The faster beating of the wings on this Black Swallowtail is what alerted me it must be different.
It’s a gorgeous butterfly and you have taken some great shots of it. Love that powder blue patch near its tail.
Thank you. Yes, that powder blue is gorgeous.
Your black swallowtail is so perfect it must be one of your own caterpillars all grown up. So nice to see them around so early, they seem a little earlier here as well but are hit or miss depending on the weather.
I like to think it’s a hometown, home-grown black swallowtail. Thanks!
I love seeing butterflies in the garden. My milkweed is at peak bloom and I’ve sadly only seen one ragged Monarch, but many Eastern Yellow Tigers and one Black Swallowtail. The bees have been busy there as well. I’m mystified about where the Fritillaries are, we have tons of violets that are their host plant, but no adults yet.
Eliza, it’s interesting to read about the mixed sightings in your garden this year. I usually notice the most butterflies in late summer/early fall, so it’s a treat to enjoy them now. Hope your monarchs arrive and the fritillaries as well. Didn’t know about the violets–I should add some.
Yes, seems to be a butterfly year! And the year of Verbena bonariensis – seeing it on line everywhere! Love the swallowtail!