Butterfly Journal For 6/18 – 6/24/2021 and Pollinator Week 2021

Cabbage White (Pieris rapae) and Verbena bonariensis

It has not been the most satisfying week for butterfly sightings in my garden.

06/19/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus
06/21/2021 Cabbage White – Pieris rapae
06/21/2021 Summer Azure – C. neglecta
06/23/2001 Cabbage White – Pieris rapae
06/23/2001 Skipper
06/24/2001 Cabbage White – Pieris rapae
[Note to self: Journal entry title was dated 6/18 – 6/24 but actually included 6/25]
06/25/2001 Cabbage White – Pieris rapae
06/25/2001 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)
06/25/2001 Eastern Tailed-Blue – Cupido comyntas
06/25/2001 ?Horace’s Duskywing – E. horatius

I have been reading butterfly lists from Carolina Leps scientists and/or serious amateurs who trek out to known areas in the two Carolinas to conduct surveys.  As example yesterday one person reported many species including 270 Zebra Swallowtails in 3 counties over 2 days, which I think would be amazing to encounter.  I was ecstatic seeing this one on June 5!

June 5, 2021 Zebra Swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus)

But I haven’t seen another Zebra.  Of the butterflies I saw since my last report, I was able to successfully photograph only the Cabbage White (Pieris rapae). Others were too quick and either I got very blurry images or none at all.

Cabbage White (Pieris rapae)

I did manage to photograph one (I think) Fiery Skipper this week.

6-19-2021  Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)

There seem to be very few skippers this year. I read yesterday an abundance of pondhawks may be a contributing factor and I have regularly seen Eastern Pondhawk (Erythemis simplicicollis).

June 12, 2021 Eastern Pondhawk (Erythemis simplicicollis)

The garden does not not have much blooming that is appealing to butterflies currently. Verbena bonariensis has been key in providing nectar to lure them. Much is going to seed now though and attracting American Goldfinches (which are fun to see). I have cut back some of the verbena hoping it will flower again. Rabbits nibbled away several sowings of zinnias. I finally planted a few zinnia seeds in trays and successfully transplanted them without incident once they were of size, a step I find infuriating when for years I could toss a handful of seeds that would soon flower the rest of summer without a bit of care. Pouting doesn’t seem to help though and everyone seems to be having increased issues with rabbits.

In honor of Pollinator Week 2021 that runs Mon, Jun 21, 2021 – Sun, Jun 27, 2021 I took a quick tour yesterday afternoon to see what plants were appealing to bees at the moment. There were a mix of bees but some were camera-shy so it was difficult to catch a representative sample with the camera. I haven’t tried to ID them yet. Instead I decided to concentrate on showing the plants they are visiting.

Gladiolus ‘Purple Flora’

Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’ attracts lots of bees and sometimes hummingbirds.

Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’

One blue salvia flower was caught in a calla lily leaf but the bee wanted to feed on it anyway. His weight knocked the bloom off and bee and flower tumbled into the pot holding the lily. I couldn’t tell if he were stunned or still feeding as I moved on.

Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’

Bee on flower of Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’

A friend grew this dwarf Tiny Tim tomato from seed and shared a couple plants with us.

Tomato ‘Tiny Tim’

Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)

Lamb’s Ears are ready to be cut back and thinned but I hesitate when the bees are enjoying it.

Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear)

Salvia nemorosa ‘Blue Hill’ (Meadow Sage)

Phlox paniculata ‘Robert Poore’ (Garden phlox)

Not bees, but observed yesterday, a Blue Dasher and a Snowberry Clearwing.

Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis) on Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)

Snowberry Clearwing (Hemaris diffinis) on Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower)

The coneflowers are looking strong this year. Most are pink but ‘White Swan’ seemed to grab most of my attention.

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea ‘White Swan’ (Coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea ‘White Swan’ (Coneflower)

A butterfly joined the echinacea circle for the briefest time.

Horace’s Duskywing (Erynnis horatius)

Here’s a fresh look at Echinacea ‘White Swan’, having one of its best years.

Echinacea purpurea ‘White Swan’ (Coneflower)

Hope you are enjoying plants and pollinators this weekend.

22 thoughts on “Butterfly Journal For 6/18 – 6/24/2021 and Pollinator Week 2021

  1. krispeterson100

    What you consider a slow week would represent a major boon in my garden, Susie, at least with respect to butterflies. I hope I’ll see more of those when the zinnias come in but that’ll be some time as I was very late in sowing seeds. Thanks to your mention of the bunny problem with zinnia seedlings, I’m about to go out an cover mine as bunnies are all over the place this year and I don’t expect I can count on the fact the seedlings are growing in raised planting beds to protect them.

    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Oh I do hope your seedlings will be ok. There is no predicting from one day to the next if I’ll see butterflies 🦋. I am trying to go out at hottest part of every day to look.

  2. theshrubqueen

    The rabbits! Ugh. Oddly, I haven’t had them eat any Zinnias. We get Zebra Swallowtails, H. Duskywings, and Cabbage Whites here – though my Cabbage Whites look different (purple markings) Great images, good luck with the bee ID.

      1. theshrubqueen

        I realized the Zinnias do not like to grow in the ground so they are in pots, though low to the ground. Go figure. I have several Leonitis seedlings I want to plant but fear the rabbits!

  3. krispeterson100

    Postscript: I went out to cover my zinnia seedlings only to find that “something” had nipped the tips of all the gladiola foliage in one of my raised beds!

  4. Eliza Waters

    A great post for Pollinator Week, Susie. I’ve seen fritillaries, a sulfur, cabbage whites, black swallowtail which laid lots of eggs on my dill, but I think a bird got most of them, sadly, lots of Eastern Tiger swallowtails, and a couple types of skippers. Our butterfly numbers have been subdued for a number of years now, kind of sad. I plant a buffet every year just in case they are around.

  5. Chloris

    Pollinator week is such a great idea,it makes you concentrate on all the insects in your garden. And you have such wonderful butterflies.

    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Pollinator week nearly slipped by me although I’d seen some others posting about it. Glad there were plenty of bees yesterday. I don’t think bees are as plentiful though this year. The butterflies have been fun to track this year–hope many more will stop by.

    1. pbmgarden Post author

      I hope you begin to have more pollinators visiting your lovely garden. I was out yesterday and saw not a single butterfly and few bees. It’s very hit or miss here.

  6. Cathy

    Some lovely photos and a stunning swallowtail! We have the usual butterflies. I haven’t seen a swallowtail at all, but we have had a hummingbird hawk moth visiting my Centranthus. I must look into what plants the skippers like as there haven’t been many the last few years. My Echinacea aren’t flowering yet. Yours are a real show!

    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thank you! Lucky to see the hummingbird hawk moth. The skippers here hang out around common lantana, verbena bonariensis, and zinnias.

  7. gardeninacity

    I’ve also got a Salvia ‘Black and Blue’ but it hasn’t attracted as many pollinators as yours, at least not yet. I love watching bumblebees, they are all over my Monardas. Yesterday I saw a Black Swallowtail and a Red Admiral, but our Monarch seems to have moved on.

    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Those are nice butterflies to see. I feel the number of bees is down here this year. Monarda is great in the garden. Mine died back and didn’t make a good show for several years. It’s making a comeback fortunately.

  8. Beth@PlantPostings

    Oh, this is fun! I love to track butterfly (and other pollinator) sightings. It’s so encouraging. Our state has a butterfly tracking website, and it’s so exciting to see all the amazing photos of all the amazing butterflies there.


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