Tag Archives: Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)

Garden Delights

Viceroy (Limenitis archippus)

Another busy week is done that left little time for the garden. There were warm, humid days, stormy days, bright days with the bluest sky imaginable and on this sunny first of October morning the air has a refreshing chill (before warming to 78°F).

On the last few days of September, in brief segments measured merely in minutes, I wandered the garden to recharge, each time finding some small delight.

I have had a few monarchs visit each year but Tuesday marked the first time I have seen a viceroy. Viceroy (Limenitis archippus) is distinguished by the black line across the veins on its hind wings.

Viceroy (Limenitis archippus)

I spotted another yesterday (or perhaps the same one returned, but I think the black vein looks thinner).

Viceroy (Limenitis archippus)

Viceroy (Limenitis archippus)

My incarnations of  Dahlia ‘Cafe Au Lait’ have not always been true to the catalogs but one plant in particular sometimes throws up a pretty one.

Dahlia ‘Cafe Au Lait’

Dahlia ‘Cafe Au Lait’

There were several other butterflies of note, a Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia) and a Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes). These are commonly sighted where I live but fairly infrequent in my garden.

Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)

Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)

Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)

Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)

A few dianthus plants are blooming more easily now the weather is cooler.  How is this for a colorful greeting?

Dianthus Ideal Select Mix

The small skippers were everywhere midsummer but numbers have declined significantly in the past 5-6 weeks.  iNaturalist is my goto source to identify skippers (mostly fieries, ocolas).  I found another clouded skipper this week.

Clouded Skipper (Lerema accius)

An interesting creature, if not the loveliest, this grasshopper tried to hide from the camera.

Differential Grasshopper (Melanoplus differentialis)

Differential Grasshopper (Melanoplus differentialis)

I will finish with a quick video of the black swallowtail, frenetically searching for sustenance among lantana flowers.

 

Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)

Looking a bit ragged now, Verbena bonariensis has been a hot spot in the garden for weeks. When not occupied by 7 or 8 American Goldfinches swaying gently on it, bees and butterflies are seen enjoying it.

Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena) and Artemisia ‘Powis Castle’ (Wormwood)

I can’t seem to get a picture of the goldfinches but it has been fun to track the pollinators around even just after noon on this scorching day. Finding the verbena an irresistible lunch was today’s special visitor, a lovely Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes).

Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)

Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)

I did not think to use slow-motion video, but this 10-second clip will give you a sense of the butterfly’s fluttering lifestyle.  (Also try setting the playback speed).

Before seeing this one today, I’ve observed three other Black Swallowtails (one on July 21, 2015 and believe it or not, two exactly a year apart on August 27, 2015 and  August 27, 2016) and this caterpillar on July 20, 2015.

July 20, 2015. Aegopodium podagraria (bishop’s weed) with Eastern Black Swallowtail (Papilo polyxenes) caterpillar

(By the way, it’s too late to tell me I shouldn’t have planted Aegopodium…just one of many garden aggressors.)

Are you observing lots of butterflies this summer?