Since my last report I recorded 43 observations of 10 species, bringing the 2021 annual butterfly total in my garden to 548 (29 total species). There has been no more rain.
Butterfly Sightings 9/25/2021 – 9/30/2021
09/25/2021 Red-banded Hairstreak – Calycopis cecrops 1
09/25/2021 Cloudless Sulphur – Phoebis sennae 1
09/25/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 1
09/26/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 1
09/26/2021 Sleepy Orange – Abaeis nicippe 1
09/26/2021 Monarch – Danaus plexippus 1
09/26/2021 Cloudless Sulphur – Phoebis sennae 1
09/27/2021 Cloudless Sulphur – Phoebis sennae 1
09/27/2021 Monarch – Danaus plexippus 1
09/27/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 6
09/27/2021 Pearl Crescent – Phyciodes tharos 1
09/27/2021 American Lady – Vanessa virginiensis 1
09/27/2021 Ocola Skipper – Panoquina ocola 1
09/28/2021 Monarch – Danaus plexippus 1
09/28/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 4
09/28/2021 American Lady – Vanessa virginiensis 1
09/28/2021 Ocola Skipper – Panoquina ocola 1
09/28/2021 Red-banded Hairstreak – Calycopis cecrops 1
09/28/2021 Cloudless Sulphur – Phoebis sennae 1
09/29/2021 Eastern Tailed-Blue – Cupido comyntas 1
09/29/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 5
09/29/2021 Red-banded Hairstreak – Calycopis cecrops 1
09/30/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 6
09/30/2021 Red-banded Hairstreak – Calycopis cecrops 1
09/30/2021 Common Buckeye – Junonia coenia 1
09/30/2021 Ocola Skipper – Panoquina ocola 1
I had no first-of-life or first-of-year sightings, but did enjoy seeing a few species that had not been around for a while. Yesterday saw the return of the Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia), the first since August 11. They were frequently seen around the garden in June and July. This one was hanging out among dahlias. It flew off as soon as I approached so I managed only a fuzzy, not-worth-sharing photo.
Last reporting period I had noted a Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos) and this week saw one more. It was one of the first species seen in the garden this year, back in April 10, 2021. While I have been recording butterfly sightings I have only scratched the surface in learning about the individual species and their habits.
American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis) was back this week also after being absent since August 10, 2021. As colorful and welcome as it was, I admit to hoping it was going to be a Painted Lady, which has been completely absent from my garden since last year, August 2, 2020. From following reports of other butterfly watchers I understand numbers for Painted Lady species is down across the state. I captured the American Lady busily nectaring on Common Lantana.
Fiery Skipper still contributes to padding my number of total butterfly observations–they are easily observed in multiples. Anecdotally their numbers seem way down this year.
I continue to see a few Ocola Skipper (Panoquina ocola) here and there. This is another species other people note as absent from their reports.
On Wednesday an Eastern Tailed-Blue (Cupido comyntas) followed me inside onto the porch. It was in no mood for pictures. Though I left the door open it spent the next half-hour frantically trying to escape the screen. Eventually it found its way to freedom. I had last recorded seeing this species three times in June of this year.
The other species seen this reporting phase are the most photogenic (or at least the most cooperative in allowing me to photograph them). I saw 4 Red-banded Hairstreak, 4 Cloudless Sulphur, 3 Monarch and 1 Sleepy Orange. I will close by sharing with you the graceful beauty of these creatures, but first here are several other visitors to the garden.
Suddenly there are lots of birds (which are too quick for my camera) and many grasshoppers.
Perhaps this Carolina anole, sunning on a gazing ball underneath the zinnias, is hoping for supper.
Hummingbird Clearwings have been frequently seen this summer. The other day more than once this moth bumped the monarch out of its way. I’ve noticed carpenter bees feeding on lantana to be similarly aggressive lately.
The male monarch was pristinely fresh.
Lantana is universally popular as a nectaring source. The one Sleepy Orange I saw during this reporting period blended in with the multi-colored flower clusters pretty well.
For a few days I enjoyed seeing a Cloudless Sulphur in the yard, like this one intently feeding on zinnias.
None of my single-form dahlias survived the rabbits and drought this summer, but there have been a few butterflies lured to the doubles. Dahlia ‘Break Out’ opened recently. Whether this Red-banded Hairstreak was able to nectar here I’m not sure.
Happy Butterflying or enjoying nature in any way you can.