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.
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).
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.
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.
Happy Butterflying or enjoying nature in any way you can.