Since my last report I recorded 21 observations of 9 species, bringing the 2021 annual butterfly total in my garden to 494. These past 5 days have been decidedly more interesting than the previous two weeks were—I had one first-of-year sighting (Clouded Skipper) and one first-of-life butterfly (White M Hairstreak).
Butterfly Sightings 9/12/2021 – 9/16/2021
9/12/2021 Silver-spotted Skipper – Epargyreus clarus 1
9/13/2021 Silver-spotted Skipper – Epargyreus clarus 1
9/13/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 2
9/13/2021 Red-banded Hairstreak – Calycopis cecrops 1
9/13/2021 Clouded Skipper – Lerema accius 1
9/14/2021 Pearl Crescent – Phyciodes tharos 1
9/14/2021 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail – Papilio glaucus 1
9/14/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 3
9/14/2021 Ocola Skipper – Panoquina ocola 1
9/14/2021 Clouded Skipper – Lerema accius 2
9/14/2021 Red-banded Hairstreak – Calycopis cecrops 2
9/15/2021 Red-banded Hairstreak – Calycopis cecrops 2
9/16/2021 White M Hairstreak – Parrhasius m-album 1
9/16/2021 Ocola Skipper – Panoquina ocola 1
9/16/2021 Gray Hairstreak – Strymon melinus 1
Seen at separate days/times, here are the three hairstreaks I saw this week: White M, Gray and Red-banded. These are small butterflies about the size of my thumbnail. Their presence was not limited to one plant, but at different times each had settled on Salvia uliginosa ‘Blue Sky’ (Bog sage) at some point, making for a nice collection of images.
I photographed five Red-banded Hairstreaks during this reporting period across several days, so some may have been the same individuals.
I have been seeing butterfly reports and images from others about sightings of White M Hairstreak nearby, but was very surprised to find one in my garden. Its abundance in North Carolina is listed as “rare to uncommon, but widespread,” having been recorded across 2/3 of the state, just not in great numbers. This one will be added to my first-of-life list (when I get around to retroactively creating it). Can you spot the “M”?
There were a lot of large active carpenter bees working the salvia. Occasionally the bees and the hairstreak shared the same stem for a moment until, like in the game musical chairs they scrambled for a new seat. Unlike in musical chairs there was room for all.
I first saw a Gray Hairstreak this year on July 3, but had seen none lately until yesterday. This one looked very fresh and was cooperative as I took pictures as it performed its acrobatics.
Soon after Kris last week mentioned seeing mostly Clouded Skippers in her Los Angeles garden and I replied I hadn’t seen any this year, one serendipitously popped up. When I initially saw it I had assumed I was photographing an Ocola Skipper, but iNaturalist suggested Clouded. The next day I saw a couple more.
I have not seen more Clouded Skippers since Tuesday but yesterday did see an Ocola. It zeroed in on a last bit of goodness from a worn stem of verbena bonariensis.
A brief encounter with this Pearl Crescent was the first since April 10. The butterfly quickly disappeared before I could get a good picture, so the evidence is a heavily cropped image.
Other species seen this week:
I love the way the cheerful way the zinnia’s color reflects here onto the silver spot in this last image. Happy Butterflying or enjoying nature in any way you can.