This week I recorded 27 observations of 8 species, bringing the annual total to 412. At long last we had some rain so I hope to see more butterflies once the plants respond to much-needed water.
I had planned a more diverse garden this year to support butterflies at all stages but sadly I have seeds saved from last year and new packets of seeds still unplanted. (Rabbits rank high among my excuses.)
Buddleja davidii (Butterfly Bush) and Lantana camara (Common lantana), both non-natives, continue to be the garden’s main nectar source. Native Rudbeckia fulgida (Orange Coneflower) has finally opened but is drawing little action. Rudbeckia laciniata (Green-Headed Coneflower) began going to seed early due to lack of rain, attracting lots of American Goldfinches, but since the rain this week a few more flowers have opened. Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’ (Black-eyed Susan) began flowering around July 4 and usually has a few insects on it.
Another native, Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower), is quickly going to seed. Several weeks ago once zinnias and cosmos finally flowered a variety of butterflies appeared on them, but this week those plants attracted mainly a few (welcome) bees. Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant) bloomed late May and early June and is setting seed, the okra-like pods preparing to burst. While there is no other milkweed to attract monarchs on their southward flight this fall they will usually nectar at the Lantana and zinnias and I hope this will be the case again. There were monarchs last week, but none this week.
Butterfly Sightings 8/13/2021- 8/19/2021
8/14/2021 Zabulon Skipper – Lon zabulon 1
8/14/2021 Ocola Skipper – Panoquina ocola 1
8/14/2021 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail – Papilio glaucus 1
8/15/2021 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail – Papilio glaucus 3
8/15/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 2
8/15/2021 Pipevine Swallowtail – Battus philenor 1
8/16/2021 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail – Papilio glaucus 1
8/16/2021 Silver-spotted Skipper – Epargyreus clarus 1
8/16/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 2
8/16/2021 Ocola Skipper – Panoquina ocola 1
8/18/2021 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail – Papilio glaucus 2
8/18/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 2
8/19/2021 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail – Papilio glaucus 1
8/19/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 1
8/19/2021 Sachem – Atalopedes campestris 5
8/19/2021 Horace’s Duskywing – E. horatius 1
8/19/2021 Ocola Skipper – Panoquina ocola 1
What’s happening here? A male Zabulon Skipper on a zinnia spots a female and joins her below on iris leaves.
The male flies off when a smaller butterfly lands on the iris. I thought it was the same species but turned out to be an Ocola Skipper. The skippers are so hard to distinguish.
A couple days later it was interesting to see this Ocola nectaring on another non-native passalong, Lathyrus latifolius (Everlasting sweet pea). I haven’t noticed it attracting many pollinators.
Yesterday was another slow butterfly day, but I did spot a fresh Horace’s Duskywing. For a while I was seeing them often but this is the only one in this week’s report.
Everyday sightings of Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) have become more frequent. This is the only large butterfly reliably visiting the garden now, not in great numbers but 1-3 on most days.
The sun is out this morning and I hope to watch for butterflies later.
How does your garden grow?