Butterfly Journal For 10/01/2021 – 10/07/2021

October 2, 2021 – Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

Since my last report I recorded 24 observations, down from 43 last report. The 2021 annual butterfly total for my garden is 572.  A chance encounter with a Common Checkered-Skipper added another species to those seen my first time (7 lifers this year)—a total of 30 species noted in the garden for 2021.

October 3, 2021 – Common Checkered-Skipper (Burnsius communis)

October 3, 2021 – Common Checkered-Skipper (Burnsius communis)

Conditions are dry and overcast with teasing gray, cloudy skies alternating with rich blue skies. Forecasts for a rainy week have led to disappointment. Today there is a 51% chance at 10 a.m. for about 0.3 inches, similar to predictions of past days. While running an errand across town Monday afternoon I was caught in a short-lived downpour, so I can attest it did rain locally, just not in this garden.

Butterfly Sightings 10/01/2021 –  10/07/2021
10/02/2021 Clouded Skipper – Lerema accius 1
10/02/2021 Cloudless Sulphur – Phoebis sennae 2
10/02/2021 Monarch – Danaus plexippus 1
10/02/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 4
10/03/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 3
10/03/2021 Ocola Skipper – Panoquina ocola 1
10/03/2021 Common Checkered-Skipper – Burnsius communis 1
10/03/2021 Monarch – Danaus plexippus 1
10/04/2021 Monarch – Danaus plexippus 1
10/05/2021 Cloudless Sulphur – Phoebis sennae 1
10/05/2021 Common Buckeye – Junonia coenia 1
10/05/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 5
10/06/2021 Clouded Skipper – Lerema accius 1
10/07/2021 Clouded Skipper – Lerema accius 1

It was difficult to get photos this week. Lately Carpenter bees have used aggressive positioning to dominate the main nectar sources, Common lantana and zinnias.  The few monarchs I saw were constantly interrupted by the bees and would fly way up into the air, floating around, sometimes resting high in the redbud tree or a neighbor’s Japanese maple, before giving it another try.  Eventually the monarchs just moved on out of the garden. At my back fence looking toward a neighbor’s backyard, I managed to catch this monarch nectaring on remnants of Rudbeckia laciniata (Green-Headed Coneflower).

October 3, 2021 – Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

There are usually a few but this autumn has brought a surprising flush of blooms on the gardenias. Before this year I had never noticed gardenias attracting skippers.

October 3, 2021 – Clouded Skipper (Lerema accius)

I had help identifying this skipper from Harry LeGrand in the Carolina Leps group: “Clouded. VERY long proboscis, strong white costal band. They often nectar on morning-glory and many other tubular flowers; most skippers can’t reach the nectar on such flowers.”  Watch at full screen view if possible and you can see that proboscis in action in this video.

Missing: Last year I saw Red-spotted Purple, Painted Lady, Wild Indigo Duskywing and American Snout, but not yet this year.  Monarchs are scarce and very few Eastern Tiger Swallowtails have stopped by the garden this year.

Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)

Happy Butterflying or enjoying nature in any way you can.


17 thoughts on “Butterfly Journal For 10/01/2021 – 10/07/2021

    1. pbmgarden Post author

      I am tied close to home caring for my husband so this project has been a nice one. I can step outside for a few minutes during the day for revitalization. I have thought about making a book but haven’t made progress on that.

  1. Kris P

    Congratulations on your lifer sighting, Susie! Once again, your photos and videos are outstanding. I’d have never suspected that bees would chase off butterflies but, at this time of year, maybe it’s every insect for itself. The rain here has also been disappointing – we got 0.01/inch overnight for a total of one-tenth of an inch since the start of our “water year” (and rainy season) on October 1st. However, as I didn’t expect to see any rain this early, I’m still counting in the “better than nothing” category.

  2. Tina

    This is a great project and it’s been interesting to see just how many butterflies you’ve observed and how many are common in my own garden.

    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thanks Tina. When setting out I didn’t have any idea I’d see so many butterflies. Glad we share many of the same. Overall numbers appear to be down this year across NC.

  3. Eliza Waters

    Guess the season is winding down. There are very few butterflies here, only a cabbage white or two. Autumn moths are starting up though.
    Hope you get some good rain soon!

    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thank you Brian. I enjoyed browsing your website this morning and seeing your butterflies. Wonderful photos and descriptions. My state of North Carolina is on the coast, Mid-Atlantic. We have 177 butterfly species that have been recorded in North Carolina, as of the end of 2019. I’ve seen 30 this year here in my garden. No plans currently to track down the rest but will keep it as a possibility.

    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thanks Judy. I do feel the garden has been rewarding this year. After a few years of not having time/energy to take care of it, I finally enlisted some help. It’s made such a difference and gives me hope I can make improvements, not just tackle problems. The butterflies have been a joy to observe.

  4. Chris Mousseau

    I loved the video! I ordered a great booklet to help identify Ontario butterflies – haven’t used it much but it’s astounding the variety. For much of the late summer we also were teased by those spotty showers, always missing us but drenching a friend a few kilometers away – so frustrating!

    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thanks Chris, glad you liked the video of the skipper feeding. Hope you’re getting nice amounts of rain now. Happy to report that although it didn’t rain all day, I awoke to the sound of thunder early this morning and we’ve had a good steady rain this morning.

  5. bittster

    Yesterday there were a few skippers fighting around the zinnias and I thought ‘I bet Susie would know the species’. Myself, I couldn’t even tell if those three individuals were the same! It’s amazing how your species count has added up during the year. It really highlights how much your garden adds to the local environment.
    Hope all is well there and hope you get some decent rain.

    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thanks for the vote of confidence. Truthfully, those skippers are so hard to ID. I’ve received a lot of help. All of our gardens are working for wildlife–nice benefit. We did finally have a good rain–not the make-up-for-an-entire-summer rain–but decent. Same time, some people in the next city over were flooded out of their homes from 7 inches!


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