Tag Archives: American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis)

Butterfly Journal For 7/17/2021- 7/22/2021

July 18, 2021 – Zebra Swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus)

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.)

July 18, 2021 – Zebra Swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus)

July 18, 2021 – Zebra Swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus)

July 18, 2021 – Zebra Swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus)

July 20, 2021 – Zebra Swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus)

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.

July 18, 2021 – Ocola Skipper (Panoquina ocola)

July 21, 2021 – Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus) 1

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.

July 21, 2021 – Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)

July 21, 2021 – American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis)

July 21, 2021 – American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis)

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.

July 20, 2021 – Red-banded Hairstreak (Calycopis cecrops)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtails are always a welcome sight.

July 20, 2021 – Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Rudbeckia laciniata (Green-Headed Coneflower) is attractive to butterflies, bees and many other insects.

July 18, 2021 – Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

July 20, 2021 – Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Exploring for butterflies this summer in my garden has been a fun project.

Gravitating Back To The Garden

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower) in Western Border

Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower) in Western Border

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).

Dahlia peeking out above Symphyotrichum pilosum (frost aster)

Dahlia peeking out above 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.

Dahlia After the Cleanup

Dahlia After the Cleanup

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.
American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis)

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.

American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis) Nectaring On Echinacea

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.

American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis) Preparing For Take-off

American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis) Preparing For Take-off

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.

Wasp on Symphyotrichum pilosum (frost aster)

Boltonia asteroides (false aster)

Symphyotrichum pilosum (frost aster)

I hope my gardening enthusiasm lasts for a while. Blue skies and lower humidity really help.