Tag Archives: American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis)
Butterfly Journal For 11/19/2021 – 11/28/2021
Since my last Butterfly Journal report I recorded a single observation, bringing the 2021 annual butterfly total for my garden to 600 (30 species)*.
[*Including a Painted Lady seen in town the overall 2021 annual butterfly total is an 601 (31 species).]
Butterfly Sightings 11/19/2021 – 11/28/2021
11/28/2021 American Lady – Vanessa virginiensis 1
A fortuitous glance out the window and a flash of orange led me outdoors just to double-check and yes, it really was a butterfly in late November nectaring on dandelion. There was time only for two quick snapshots.
What might December bring?
Butterfly Journal For 10/01/2021 – 10/07/2021
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.
Butterfly Journal For 9/25/2021 – 9/30/2021
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.
Butterfly Journal For 7/17/2021- 7/22/2021
I recorded 34 butterflies during this reporting period. The annual total is 186.
Butterfly Sightings 7/17/2021- 7/22/2021
07/18/2021 Zebra Swallowtail – Eurytides marcellus 1
07/18/2021 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail – Papilio glaucus 1
07/18/2021 Skipper sp. 10
07/18/2021 American Lady – Vanessa virginiensis 1
07/18/2021 Horace’s Duskywing – E. horatius 1
07/20/2021 Horace’s Duskywing – E. horatius 1
07/20/2021 Zebra Swallowtail – Eurytides marcellus 1
07/20/2021 Silver-spotted Skipper – Epargyreus clarus 1
07/20/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 1
07/20/2021 Common Buckeye – Junonia coenia 1
07/20/2021 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail – Papilio glaucus 1
07/20/2021 Red-banded Hairstreak – Calycopis cecrops 1
07/20/2021 American Lady – Vanessa virginiensis 1
07/21/2021 Common Buckeye – Junonia coenia 1
07/21/2021 American Lady – Vanessa virginiensis 1
07/21/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 3
07/21/2021 Horace’s Duskywing – E. horatius 2
07/21/2021 Ocola Skipper – Panoquina ocola 1
07/21/2021 Silver-spotted Skipper – Epargyreus clarus 1
07/22/2021 Silver-spotted Skipper – Epargyreus clarus 1
07/22/2021 Horace’s Duskywing – E. horatius 1
07/22/2021 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail – Papilio glaucus 1
The most thrilling butterfly moment this week: seeing a Zebra Swallowtail two days apart. (There had also been one in early June.)
Plenty of Grass Skippers (Hesperiinae), especially Fiery and Ocola, go uncounted in my unofficial survey. These insects flit from flower to flower, bump into each, dart away suddenly and land near or far, making it hard to get accurate counts. As I’m not confident of knowing these skippers by sight, it is a time-consuming effort to photograph and verify those that show up around the garden. So for them I am mostly selecting one or two to represent the group.
This year Silver-spotted Skipper and Horace’s Duskywing are regularly seen, not in huge numbers but one or two nearly every day. Common Buckeye and American Lady also are more frequent this year.
Tuesday I photographed my first Red-banded Hairstreak (Calycopis cecrops) of the year. Previously I had seen only one in July 2014 and a second in August 2015.
Eastern Tiger Swallowtails are always a welcome sight.
Rudbeckia laciniata (Green-Headed Coneflower) is attractive to butterflies, bees and many other insects.
Exploring for butterflies this summer in my garden has been a fun project.
Gravitating Back To The Garden
Autumn arrived this past week bringing a succession of cooler days and rain, lots of steady rain. Fortunately Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower), a native which reached over 10 feet tall before finally blooming about five days ago, managed to withstand the rain without falling over.
Yesterday the sun returned and I felt the pull to get busy in the garden again.
For many months I have often felt disengaged from my garden and as a result the flower beds have wandered through spring and summer with only minimal maintenance. But recently I took some time to enjoy the garden and my outlook changed.
Yesterday and today the weather was so pleasant, we ate every meal outdoors overlooking the borders. This morning while talking to our daughter in California, I sat in the garden on the bench next to a group of tall, colorful zinnias . As we chatted the birds chattered also and the chimes sounded gently in the breeze.
Looking around the last couple of days I noticed how things are still very green and how, despite my inattention, the garden continues to work well as a peaceful respite, at least when I take time for it. Before long I really wanted to get to work, so this afternoon I spent a few hours cleaning up, trimming away some overgrown spots and pulling lots of weeds. The time passed quickly and quietly—it was very satisfying. It is not that I have not kept up with some of the essential chores all along, it is rather that today I felt connected again.
Last spring I planted a dahlia at the back of the western border, thinking it was going to grow very tall. It grew slowly and soon got lost behind more aggressive players: Tradescantia, Salvia uliginosa ‘Blue Sky’, Physostegia virginians (Obedient plant), and a recently blooming, tiny white daisy-like flower I believe to be
native Boltonia asteroides (false aster) or perhaps it could be native Symphyotrichum pilosum (frost aster).
I gave the dahlia some breathing room and placed a peony ring around it for support—better late than never perhaps.
Here is another embarrassing, entangled planting to the left of the dahlia. My goal was to pull up all of these plants today, but first I wanted some before images. As soon as I entered the border to take pictures I noticed a colorful orange and black butterfly that seemed not to mind the weedy, unruliness of this area.
As I moved in with my camera it alighted on an echinacea and I realized it was not a monarch as I had hoped it might be. I did not recognize this butterfly.
I managed one more photo as it prepared to take off. Tentatively I identified it as American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis), but would appreciate help in confirming it.
In the end I pulled up most of these plants, but the false aster (if that is indeed what it is) was teeming with wasps and bees, so I felt I should leave them some food.
I hope my gardening enthusiasm lasts for a while. Blue skies and lower humidity really help.