Tag Archives: butterflies 2021

Butterfly Journal For 9/17/2021 – 9/24/2021

September 20, 2021 Sleepy Orange (Abaeis nicippe)

Since my last report I recorded 11 observations of 6 species, bringing the 2021 annual butterfly total in my garden to 505 (and approximately 29 total species).  The garden at last received a nice rainfall Tuesday and Wednesday. Flowers have perked up and I hope more butterflies will venture this way.

Butterfly Sightings 9/17/2021 –  9/24/2021

09/17/2021 Red-banded Hairstreak – Calycopis cecrops 1
09/17/2021 White M Hairstreak – Parrhasius m-album 1
09/17/2021 Ocola Skipper – Panoquina ocola 1
09/18/2021 Ocola Skipper – Panoquina ocola 1
09/18/2021 Cloudless Sulphur – Phoebis sennae 1
09/18/2021 Red-banded Hairstreak – Calycopis cecrops 1
09/20/2021 Sleepy Orange – Abaeis nicippe 1
09/20/2021 Monarch – Danaus plexippus 1
09/23/2021 Red-banded Hairstreak – Calycopis cecrops 1
09/24/2021 Cloudless Sulphur – Phoebis sennae 1
09/24/2021 Ocola Skipper – Panoquina ocola 1

Last report listed 21 observations so this week’s tally is down. Had I counted “little orange skippers” I could have matched that total, but they have been skittish and I could not get photos.  Most looked like Fiery Skippers but I do not trust my instincts enough to name them without pictures to back up the identification.  I did find a few Ocola Skippers; they are easier to know.

September 17, 2021 Ocola Skipper (Panoquina ocola)

There were a few more Hairstreak sightings, one White M  and several Red-banded. There is just a hint of the blue dorsal view but I couldn’t get a photo of one with open wings.

September 17, 2021 M Hairstreak (Parrhasius m-album) on Dahlia ‘Petra’s Wedding’

September 23, 2021 Red-banded Hairstreak (Calycopis cecrops) On Rudbeckia fulgida (Orange Coneflower)

September 17, 2021 Red-banded Hairstreak (Calycopis cecrops)

During this period I saw my first Cloudless Sulphur of the year (September 18) with another sighting today (September 24).

September 18, 2021 Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebis sennae)

September 18, 2021 Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebis sennae)

This butterfly seems willing to nectar on a variety of plants—I saw the one today alight on gardenia, several salvias, cleome, perennial sweet pea and dahlias. The salvias may have held the most allure. Both days I managed the best photographs on the salvias.

September 24, 2021 Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebis sennae)

Thought this next image is cropped and not well-focused, today I managed to catch an open-wing view of the Cloudless Sulphur.

September 24, 2021 Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebis sennae)

I chased a Sleepy Orange around for quite a while the other day, eventually getting a close-up look.

September 20, 2021 Sleepy Orange (Abaeis nicippe)

It settled briefly at lots of plants including this weedy one I have been trying to eliminate from the garden. I cannot remember its name at the moment but it spreads by runners and has travelled far and wide. At least it is providing some nutrients to the Sleepy Orange.

September 20, 2021 Sleepy Orange (Abaeis nicippe)

It was interesting to see the open-wing view of this butterfly.

September 20, 2021 Sleepy Orange (Abaeis nicippe). Open-wing, dorsal view.

Monarchs are endearing and always a welcome sight. This one’s wing has a slight fold or wrinkle that I worried about. Common lantana is a favorite nectar source.

September 20, 2021 Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

September 20, 2021 Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

Happy Butterflying or enjoying nature in any way you can.

Butterfly Journal For 9/12/2021 – 9/16/2021

September 14, 2021 Red-banded Hairstreak (Calycopis cecrops) on Tansy

Since my last report I recorded 21 observations of 9 species, bringing the 2021 annual butterfly total in my garden to 494. These past 5 days have been decidedly more interesting than the previous two weeks were—I had one first-of-year sighting (Clouded Skipper) and one first-of-life butterfly (White M Hairstreak).

Butterfly Sightings 9/12/2021 –  9/16/2021

9/12/2021 Silver-spotted Skipper – Epargyreus clarus 1
9/13/2021 Silver-spotted Skipper – Epargyreus clarus 1
9/13/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 2
9/13/2021 Red-banded Hairstreak – Calycopis cecrops 1
9/13/2021 Clouded Skipper – Lerema accius 1
9/14/2021 Pearl Crescent – Phyciodes tharos 1
9/14/2021 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail – Papilio glaucus 1
9/14/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 3
9/14/2021 Ocola Skipper – Panoquina ocola 1
9/14/2021 Clouded Skipper – Lerema accius 2
9/14/2021 Red-banded Hairstreak – Calycopis cecrops 2
9/15/2021 Red-banded Hairstreak – Calycopis cecrops 2
9/16/2021 White M Hairstreak – Parrhasius m-album 1
9/16/2021 Ocola Skipper – Panoquina ocola 1
9/16/2021 Gray Hairstreak – Strymon melinus 1

Seen at separate days/times, here are the three hairstreaks I saw this week: White M, Gray and Red-banded. These are small butterflies about the size of my thumbnail. Their presence was not limited to one plant, but at different times each had settled on Salvia uliginosa ‘Blue Sky’ (Bog sage) at some point, making for a nice collection of images.

Three hairstreaks seen this week. Top: 9/16/2021 White M Hairstreak – Parrhasius m-album; Bottom left: 9/16/2021 Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus); Bottom right: September 15, 2021 Red-banded Hairstreak (Calycopis cecrops)

I photographed five Red-banded Hairstreaks during this reporting period across several days, so some may have been the same individuals.

September 15, 2021  Red-banded Hairstreak (Calycopis cecrops)

I have been seeing butterfly reports and images from others about sightings of White M Hairstreak nearby, but was very surprised to find one in my garden. Its abundance in North Carolina is listed as “rare to uncommon, but widespread,”  having been recorded across 2/3 of the state, just not in great numbers. This one will be added to my first-of-life list (when I get around to retroactively creating it). Can you spot the “M”?

September 16, 2021 -White M Hairstreak (Parrhasius m-album)

There were a lot of large active carpenter bees working the salvia. Occasionally the bees and the hairstreak shared the same stem for a moment until, like in the game musical chairs they scrambled for a new seat. Unlike in musical chairs there was room for all.

September 16, 2021 -Eastern Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa virginica) with White M Hairstreak (Parrhasius m-album)

I first saw a Gray Hairstreak this year on July 3, but had seen none lately until yesterday. This one looked very fresh and was cooperative as I took pictures as it performed its acrobatics.

September 16, 2021 -Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus)

Soon after Kris last week mentioned seeing mostly Clouded Skippers in her Los Angeles garden and I replied I hadn’t seen any this year, one serendipitously popped up. When I initially saw it I had assumed I was photographing an Ocola Skipper, but iNaturalist suggested Clouded.  The next day I saw a couple more.

September 13, 2021 – Clouded Skipper (Lerema accius)

September 14, 2021 – Clouded Skipper (Lerema accius)

I have not seen more Clouded Skippers since Tuesday but yesterday did see an Ocola. It zeroed in on a last bit of goodness from a worn stem of verbena bonariensis.

September 16, 2021
Ocola Skipper (Panoquina ocola)

A brief encounter with this Pearl Crescent was the first since April 10. The butterfly quickly disappeared before I could get a good picture, so the evidence is a heavily cropped image.

September 14, 2021 Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos)

Other species seen this week:

September 13, 2021 Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)

September 14, 2021 Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)

September 14, 2021 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

September 13, 2021 Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus)

I love the way the cheerful way the zinnia’s color reflects here onto the silver spot in this last image. Happy Butterflying or enjoying nature in any way you can.

Butterfly Journal For 8/28/2021 – 9/11/2021

Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)

Since my last report I recorded 28 observations of 7 species, bringing the annual butterfly total in my garden to 473. During this decidedly unexciting 15-day period, sightings overall were down with Fiery Skippers accounting for 12 of the 28, nearly 43%.

It has temporarily cooled off a bit but remains extremely dry.  A friend who lives 30 miles away experienced 2.5 inches of rain in one-half hour Thursday, causing a short-lived flash flood in her backyard, while we had barely enough rain to dampen the ground. Clouds have passed right by us all summer.

Butterfly Sightings 8/28/2021 –  9/11/2021

8/28/2021 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail – Papilio glaucus 1
8/28/2021 Silver-spotted Skipper – Epargyreus clarus 1
8/28/2021 Ocola Skipper – Panoquina ocola 2
8/29/2021 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail – Papilio glaucus 1
8/30/2021 Ocola Skipper – Panoquina ocola 1
9/2/2021 Dun Skipper – Euphyes vestris 1
9/2/2021 Silver-spotted Skipper – Epargyreus clarus 2
9/2/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 1
9/2/2021 Ocola Skipper – Panoquina ocola 1
9/2/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 2
9/6/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 4
9/8/2021 Monarch – Danaus plexippus 1
9/10/2021 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail – Papilio glaucus 1
9/10/2021 Monarch – Danaus plexippus 1
9/10/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 5
9/10/2021 Ocola Skipper – Panoquina ocola 2
9/11/2021 Black Swallowtail – Papilio polyxenes 1

Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)

Recently solo Monarchs have entered the garden, swept through the borders quickly and exited quickly without regard for the already dejected, resident paparazzi. Similarly, Eastern Tiger Swallowtails which are usually plentiful by also are sailing past rather than enjoying the delights of lantana and zinnias the garden table is offering. This monarch took an interest in verbena bonariensis.

September 8 , 2021 Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

The garden’s first Dun Skipper sighting since 2015 made it into this report. As is true with many of the skippers, I needed help with this ID. iNaturalist suggested a different species, but the yellow-gold on top of the head and few spots on the forewings helped my resources agree it is a Dun female.

Dun Skipper (Euphyes vestris)

After feeling rather disappointed about the current state of butterflies a mid-afternoon visit today from a spectacular Black Swallowtail has lifted my spirits. The butterfly was beautiful and appeared quite fresh.

Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)

Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)

Also hanging out in the garden in early September are huge spiders, anoles, bumblebees, birds, hummingbird clearwings and ever hopeful dragonflies.

Argiope aurantia (Black and Yellow Garden Spider)

Bumblebee (Bombus)

Hummingbird Clearwing (Hemaris thysbe)

Great Blue Skimmer (Libellula vibrans)

Back to butterflies, this Ocola was particularly cooperative in posing.

Ocola Skipper (Panoquina ocola)

Happy Butterflying or enjoying nature in any way you can.

August 28, 2021  Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

 

Butterfly Journal For 8/20/2021- 8/27/2021

August 21, 2021  Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

This week I recorded 33 observations of 9 species, bringing the annual butterfly total in my garden to 445. It has been very dry and hot and I have not spent much time outdoors lately so this is actually a surprising count. The numbers are helped by having a daily supply of Eastern Tiger Swallowtails, including a dark female morph on several days.

August 23, 2021 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Butterfly Sightings 8/20/2021- 8/27/2021

8/21/2021 Black Swallowtail – Papilio polyxenes 1
8/21/2021 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail – Papilio glaucus 1
8/21/2021 Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus) 1
8/21/2021 Horace’s Duskywing (Erynnis horatius) 1
8/21/2021 Sachem – Atalopedes campestris 1
8/22/2021 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail – Papilio glaucus 5
8/23/2021 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail – Papilio glaucus 5
8/23/2021 Sachem – Atalopedes campestris 1
8/23/2021 Ocola Skipper – Panoquina ocola 1
8/24/2021 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail – Papilio glaucus 3
8/25/2021 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail – Papilio glaucus 3
8/25/2021 Sleepy Orange – Abaeis nicippe 1
8/27/2021 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail – Papilio glaucus 1
8/27/2021 Monarch – Danaus plexippus 1
8/27/2021 Sachem – Atalopedes campestris 1
8/27/2021 Sleepy Orange – Abaeis nicippe 1
8/27/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 2
8/27/2021 Ocola Skipper – Panoquina ocola 2
8/27/2021 Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus) 1

A Monarch stopped by the garden this afternoon but wouldn’t let me near.

August 27, 2021  Monarch (Danaus plexippus)

While I was trying to get a close-up photo of the monarch I encountered some other butterflies I would not have noticed otherwise.

August 27, 2021  Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus)

August 27, 2021  Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)

August 27, 2021  Ocola Skipper (Panoquina ocola)

I saw a first-of-year Sleepy Orange on August 25 with another sighting today.  I have better photos of this species from previous years. All images this week were rather poor, but I was excited to add another species to the 2021 count. [Note: Wikipedia lists the binomial as Eurema nicippe.]

August 25, 2021  Sleepy Orange (Abaeis nicippe) -First of year

Today the Sleepy Orange was nectaring on Salvia uliginosa ‘Blue Sky’ (Bog sage).  Glad to see it getting some respect.

August 27, 2021  Sleepy Orange (Abaeis nicippe)

August 27, 2021   Sleepy Orange (Abaeis nicippe)

Happy Butterflying or enjoying nature in any way you can.

Butterfly Journal For 8/13/2021- 8/19/2021

August 19, 2021 Sachem (Atalopedes campestris)

This week I recorded 27 observations of 8 species, bringing the annual total to 412. At long last we had some rain so I hope to see more butterflies once the plants respond to much-needed water.

I had planned a more diverse garden this year to support butterflies at all stages but sadly I have seeds saved from last year and new packets of seeds still unplanted. (Rabbits rank high among my excuses.)

Buddleja davidii (Butterfly Bush) and Lantana camara (Common lantana), both non-natives, continue to be the garden’s main nectar source. Native Rudbeckia fulgida (Orange Coneflower) has finally opened but is drawing little action. Rudbeckia laciniata (Green-Headed Coneflower) began going to seed early due to lack of rain, attracting lots of American Goldfinches, but since the rain this week a few more flowers have opened.  Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’ (Black-eyed Susan) began flowering around July 4 and usually has a few insects on it.

August 14, 2021
Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’ (Black-eyed Susan)

Another native, Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower), is quickly going to seed. Several weeks ago once zinnias and cosmos finally flowered a variety of butterflies appeared on them, but this week those plants attracted mainly a few (welcome) bees. Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant) bloomed late May and early June and is setting seed, the okra-like pods preparing to burst. While there is no other milkweed to attract monarchs on their southward flight this fall they will usually nectar at the Lantana and zinnias and I hope this will be the case again. There were monarchs last week, but none this week.

Butterfly Sightings 8/13/2021- 8/19/2021

8/14/2021 Zabulon Skipper – Lon zabulon 1
8/14/2021 Ocola Skipper – Panoquina ocola 1
8/14/2021 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail – Papilio glaucus 1
8/15/2021 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail – Papilio glaucus 3
8/15/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 2
8/15/2021 Pipevine Swallowtail – Battus philenor 1
8/16/2021 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail – Papilio glaucus 1
8/16/2021 Silver-spotted Skipper – Epargyreus clarus 1
8/16/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 2
8/16/2021 Ocola Skipper – Panoquina ocola 1
8/18/2021 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail – Papilio glaucus 2
8/18/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 2
8/19/2021 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail – Papilio glaucus 1
8/19/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 1
8/19/2021 Sachem – Atalopedes campestris 5
8/19/2021 Horace’s Duskywing – E. horatius 1
8/19/2021 Ocola Skipper – Panoquina ocola 1

What’s happening here? A male Zabulon Skipper on a zinnia spots a female and joins her below on iris leaves.

August 14, 2021 Zabulon Skipper (Lon zabulon), male

 

August 14, 2021 Zabulon Skipper (Lon zabulon)

The male flies off when a smaller butterfly lands on the iris. I thought it was the same species but turned out to be an Ocola Skipper. The skippers are so hard to distinguish.

August 14, 2021 Zabulon Skipper (Lon zabulon), right and Ocola Skipper (Panoquina ocola), left

A couple days later it was interesting to see this Ocola nectaring on another non-native passalong, Lathyrus latifolius (Everlasting sweet pea). I haven’t noticed it attracting many pollinators.

August 16, 2021 Ocola Skipper (Panoquina ocola)

Yesterday was another slow butterfly day, but I did spot a fresh Horace’s Duskywing. For a while I was seeing them often but this is the only one in this week’s report.

August 19, 2021 Horace’s Duskywing (Erynnis horatius)

Everyday sightings of Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) have become more frequent. This is the only large butterfly reliably visiting the garden now, not in great numbers but 1-3 on most days.

August 16, 2021 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

The sun is out this morning and I hope to watch for butterflies later.

How does your garden grow?

Butterfly Journal For 8/7/2021- 8/12/2021

August 11, 2021 Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)

This week I recorded 34 observations, bringing the annual total to 385. There were 11 species, including one first-of-year and two first-of-life butterflies for me on the same day.

Butterfly Sightings 8/7/2021- 8/12/2021

8/8/2021 Monarch – Danaus plexippus 1
8/9/2021 Monarch – Danaus plexippus 1
8/9/2021 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail – Papilio glaucus 2
8/9/2021 Horace’s Duskywing – E. horatius 1
8/9/2021 Ocola Skipper – Panoquina ocola 1
8/9/2021 Zabulon Skipper – Lon zabulon 1
8/9/2021 American Lady – Vanessa virginiensis 1
8/9/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 3
8/9/2021 Eufala Skipper -Lerodea eufala 1
8/9/2021 Little Glassywing -Pompeius verna 1
8/10/2021 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail – Papilio glaucus 3
8/10/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 3
8/10/2021 Ocola Skipper – Panoquina ocola 2
8/10/2021 American Lady – Vanessa virginiensis 1
8/10/2021 Horace’s Duskywing – E. horatius 1
8/10/2021 Silver-spotted Skipper – Epargyreus clarus 1
8/11/2021 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail – Papilio glaucus 2
8/11/2021 Silver-spotted Skipper – Epargyreus clarus 2
8/11/2021 Eufala Skipper -Lerodea eufala 1
8/11/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 2
8/11/2021 Common Buckeye – Junonia coenia 1
8/11/2021 Ocola Skipper – Panoquina ocola 1
8/11/2021 Little Glassywing -Pompeius verna 1

This is the first Zabulon Skipper I have seen this year. My first recorded Zabulon in the garden was last year, August 2020.

8/9/2021 Zabulon Skipper (Lon zabulon).  Male.

 

Here is my first ever Eufala Skipper, seen 8/9/2021 and another sighting 8/11/2021.

August 9, 2021 Eufala Skipper (Lerodea eufala)

August 11, 2021 Eufala Skipper (Lerodea eufala)

August 11, 2021 Eufala Skipper (Lerodea eufala)

 

The other new-to-me butterfly appearing on the same two days is Little Glassywing.

August 9, 2021 Little Glassywing (Pompeius verna)

August 9, 2021 Little Glassywing (Pompeius verna)

August 11, 2021 Little Glassywing (Pompeius verna)

Recently I’ve begun noticing Eastern Tiger Swallowtails flying up high into a tall pine tree just outside our back fence. One day from an upstairs window I could see a male resting/sleeping way up in the pine.  Beneath the tree branches is a favorite nectar source in my garden, a butterfly bush just inside the fence.

August 9, 2021  Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Digressing from butterflies for a moment: There haven’t been many bees around recently since the Green-headed coneflower went largely to seed, but this summer I have enjoyed a few visits from these clearwing moths.

August 11, 2021 Hummingbird Clearwing (Hemaris thysbe)

August 11, 2021 Snowberry Clearwing (Hemaris diffinis)

 

I saw several dark female Eastern Tiger Swallowtails this week. One featured for this week’s Wordless Wednesday was appallingly tattered and worn, yet actively feeding.  This one is in much better condition.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Hope your garden is absorbing, satisfying and engaging this summer.

Butterfly Journal For 8/1/2021- 8/6/2021

Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)

In what has proved to be an underwhelming butterfly week I recorded 52 observations, bringing the annual total to 351.  The sightings this week were limited to 7 species (all previously recorded this year): Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Monarch, Silver-spotted Skipper, Fiery Skipper, Ocola Skipper, Horace’s Duskywing, and Sachem.

Butterfly Sightings 8/1/2021- 8/6/2021

8/1/2021 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail – Papilio glaucus 1
8/1/2021 Monarch – Danaus plexippus 1
8/1/2021 Silver-spotted Skipper – Epargyreus clarus 1
8/1/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 4
8/1/2021 Ocola Skipper – Panoquina ocola 1
8/2/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 8
8/2/2021 Ocola Skipper – Panoquina ocola 3
8/2/2021 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail – Papilio glaucus 1
8/2/2021 Monarch – Danaus plexippus 1
8/4/2021 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail – Papilio glaucus 1
8/4/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 1
8/4/2021 Horace’s Duskywing – E. horatius 1
8/4/2021 Silver-spotted Skipper – Epargyreus clarus 1
8/5/2021 Horace’s Duskywing – E. horatius 1
8/5/2021 Silver-spotted Skipper – Epargyreus clarus 1
8/5/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 2
8/5/2021 Ocola Skipper – Panoquina ocola 3
8/5/2021 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail – Papilio glaucus 2
8/5/2021 Sachem – Atalopedes campestris 1
8/6/2021 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail – Papilio glaucus 2
8/6/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 11
8/6/2021 Ocola Skipper – Panoquina ocola 3
8/6/2021 Silver-spotted Skipper – Epargyreus clarus 1

We finally had a couple days of cooler weather. The temporary relief from the summer’s heat was welcome yet poignant. I’m never ready for summer to end but already I sense it. On one day in particular when I searched for butterflies the stillness in the garden was almost eerie.

Rain started falling yesterday evening and this morning there is a nice steady shower—precipitation has been passing us by for weeks, even when areas nearby received several inches at a time.

In the garden little is blooming except a handful of annuals (zinnia, cosmos), Common lantana, and Buddleja davidii (Butterfly Bush).  Verbena bonariensis has mostly gone to seed and Rudbeckia laciniata (Green-Headed Coneflower) is headed to seed too, bringing in lots of American goldfinches. The few dahlias that managed to survive this year are doubles, not as attractive to pollinators as the single form.

Early in the week two monarchs passed in and out of the garden, too quickly for more than a just a glimpse. Most butterflies noted this week were little skippers. I had help identifying this skipper as Sachem.  So many look alike and in my garden most of these little ones turn out to be Fiery Skippers.

Sachem (Atalopedes campestris) (Female)

I have taken lots of pictures of Fiery Skippers but I was surprised to catch this one in flight with open wings.  I usually catch them nectaring with wings either closed or partially open.

Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)

 

Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)

Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)

Although Common lantana appears to offer pollinator appeal, Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’ (Black-eyed Susan), which took a lot of years to become established, is attracting Fierys and other insects regularly.

Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)

 

It is nice to see some butterfly activity around the new-this-year Salvia nemorosa ‘Blue Hill’ (Meadow Sage). I’m having a hard time staying on top of deadheading it though—seems very needy.

Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus)

Ocola Skippers are often seen in the garden.  They have long forewings and I read they may feed while hanging upside down—like this one.

Ocola Skipper (Panoquina ocola)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail is the only species of larger butterflies I could photograph this week. Seeing missing portions from the hindwing makes me wonder what all these creatures must endure, what narrow escapes they make.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Some of the individuals are quite tattered and many are also worn. A fun fact gleaned from a Leps social media group explains the difference between fresh and worn: fresh butterfly wings are loaded with scales (think layers of shingles on a roof) that wear off. The butterfly wings rubbing together over a few days results in scales wearing off and causing the colors to fade — in most species. I haven’t done this but supposedly if you were to run your finger across a wing, you would get some color smeared on your finger, as you have gotten some scales on you it.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

 

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Here is a very worn duskywing and a fresher one.

Horace’s Duskywing (Erynnis horatius)

Horace’s Duskywing (Erynnis horatius)

I do hope to see more different species. Last year I was informally keeping track and saw 7 species in August that I have yet to record this year. It will be interesting to see if butterflying picks up next week.

Butterfly Journal For 7/23/2021- 7/30/2021

July 25, 2021 Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)

I recorded an amazing 112 butterflies during this reporting period. The annual total is 298.

Butterfly Sightings 7/23/2021- 7/30/2021

07/23/2021 Silver-spotted Skipper – Epargyreus clarus 1
07/23/2021 Horace’s Duskywing – E. horatius 2
07/23/2021 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail – Papilio glaucus 1
07/23/2021 American Lady – Vanessa virginiensis 1
07/24/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 23
07/24/2021 Ocola Skipper – Panoquina ocola 7
07/24/2021 Common Buckeye – Junonia coenia 2
07/24/2021 Horace’s Duskywing – E. horatius 2
07/24/2021 Gray Hairstreak – Strymon melinus 1
07/24/2021 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail – Papilio glaucus 1
07/24/2021 Silver-spotted Skipper – Epargyreus clarus 1
07/25/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 6
07/25/2021 Ocola Skipper – Panoquina ocola 3
07/25/2021 American Lady – Vanessa virginiensis 1
07/25/2021 Silver-spotted Skipper – Epargyreus clarus 1
07/26/2021 Horace’s Duskywing – E. horatius 4
07/26/2021 American Lady – Vanessa virginiensis 1
07/26/2021 Pipevine Swallowtail – Battus philenor 1
07/26/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 6
07/26/2021 Hoary Edge – Achalarus lyciades 1
07/26/2021 Common Buckeye – Junonia coenia 2
07/26/2021 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail – Papilio glaucus 1
07/27/2021 Horace’s Duskywing – E. horatius 3
07/27/2021 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail – Papilio glaucus 1
07/28/2021 American Lady – Vanessa virginiensis 1
07/28/2021 Common Buckeye – Junonia coenia 3
07/28/2021 Horace’s Duskywing – E. horatius 1
07/29/2021 Silver-spotted Skipper – Epargyreus clarus 1
07/29/2021 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail – Papilio glaucus 1
07/29/2021 Common Buckeye – Junonia coenia 2
07/29/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 8
07/29/2021 Horace’s Duskywing – E. horatius 1
07/29/2021 Monarch – Danaus plexippus 1
07/29/2021 Ocola Skipper – Panoquina ocola 2
07/30/2021 Monarch – Danaus plexippus 1
07/30/2021 American Lady – Vanessa virginiensis 1
07/30/2021 Silver-spotted Skipper – Epargyreus clarus 1
07/30/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 10
07/30/2021 Ocola Skipper – Panoquina ocola 4
07/30/2021 Common Buckeye – Junonia coenia 1

Within this new period 53 were Fiery Skippers and 14 were Ocola Skippers. These small creatures abound around the Common Lantana, Verbena bonariensis, Butterfly Bush; they also vie with bees and other insects at the Rudbeckia laciniata (Green-Headed Coneflower).

July 24, 2021 Ocola Skipper (Panoquina ocola)

The small skippers are difficult for me to identify with any certainty, but I am making an attempt. In my last report I had decided to just omit these species because of my uncertainty and the time it takes first to make a reasonable guess and second to verify the guess. But after asking for advice on the listserv where I have been reporting my butterfly sightings this year, I was encouraged to do report all species.

Harry LeGrand in Raleigh who is in charge of the collection data and statistics that end up online at Butterflies of North Carolina: their Distribution and Abundance offered a rule of thumb. “If any orange or yellow on them, 90% likely are Fiery, and the rest as Sachems.  That should be the Chatham County ratio. The dark ones likely Ocola and Clouded, with a few others like Dun possible. ”  Of the grass skippers I uploaded to verify this period, all were identified as Fiery or Ocola.

I saw the praying mantis in this photograph only when reviewing the images. Was the male Fiery paying attention?

July 26, 2021 Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)

In other news I can report a discovery and a correction: On 07/26/2021 I learned what I had been chasing as a Silver-spotted Skipper was a new-to-me Hoary Edge (Achalarus lyciades).  After reflection I realized I had earlier on 07/13/2021 made the same mistake and had misidentified it in my last butterfly journal. It’s been corrected now.  I was told Hoary Edge is often difficult to get in a garden. They are seen in Piedmont region of North Carolina where I live but are more easily found in the Sandhills.

July 26, 2021  Hoary Edge (Achalarus lyciades)

For comparison here is the Silver-spotted Skipper.  I see these often.

July 24, 2021 Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus)

Nearly every day I observe 1 or 2 Horace’s Duskywings. Yesterday there were a record 4.

July 28, 2021  Horace’s Duskywing (Erynnis horatius)

More American Lady and Common Buckeye butterflies are visiting the garden than ever before and are recently observed enjoying cosmos flowers. I have not grown cosmos in many years but the orange and yellow flowers provide a well-coordinated color palette for photographs.

July 28, 2021 American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis)

July 28, 2021 American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis)

July 28, 2021 Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia) on Cosmos

There have been a few Eastern Tiger Swallowtails, some pristine, some sadly worn and plucked.

July 29, 2021 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

I was ecstatic to see another Pipevine Swallowtail (last seen 6/14/2021). It was an unexpected treat.

July 26, 2021 Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor)

July 26, 2021 Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor)

July 26, 2021 Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor)

And more!  Yesterday and today Monarchs stopped by.  Some of you have reported seeing these already. One had popped by here in early April when it was still unusually chilly. Hope we all see many more this summer.

July 29, 2021 Monarch (Danaus plexippus)

This has been a rewarding summer of butterflies.

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.

Butterfly Journal For 7/13/2021- 7/16/2021

07/16/2021 Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)

[Note: updated 7/28/2021 to correct ID of Silver-spotted Skipper – Epargyreus clarus to Hoary Edge – Achalarus lyciades.]

Sometimes I spot a butterfly from a window, other times I actively choose a time to search along the borders. The most fun is when I’m working in the garden and one unexpectedly floats by, sending me chasing it for a brief time to capture the moment. Such a serendipitous encounter occurred yesterday. From the corner of my eye I caught painterly colors drifting by. They belonged to a Black Swallowtail. It entered the garden at the same time as an Eastern TIger Swallowtail. Both headed for the lantana which was already serving a good number of customers.

07/16/2021 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

The Eastern Tiger moved on quickly, startled I think by a bee or skipper trying to share the flowers. Within two minutes the Black Swallowtail had also departed, leaving me conscious of the fleetingness of the moment.

07/16/2021 Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)

Butterfly Sightings 7/13/2021- 7/16/2021

07/13/2021 American Lady – Vanessa virginiensis 1 Common lantana
07/13/2021 Ocola Skipper – Panoquina ocola 2 Common lantana; Buddleja davidii (Butterfly Bush)
07/13/2021 Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus) 2 Common lantana
07/13/2021 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail – Papilio glaucus 1 Common lantana
[next ID updated 7/28/2021:]
07/13/2021 Silver-spotted Skipper – Epargyreus clarus Hoary Edge – Achalarus lyciades 1 Common lantana
07/13/2021 Horace’s Duskywing – E. horatius 3
07/13/2021 Sachem (Atalopedes campestris) 1
07/14/2021 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail – Papilio glaucus 3 (1 is dark morph)
07/14/2021 Common Buckeye – Junonia coenia 1
07/14/2021 Horace’s Duskywing – E. horatius 4
07/14/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 2
07/14/2021 Skipper sp. 10 on lantana and butterfly bush
07/14/2021 Silver-spotted Skipper – Epargyreus clarus 1
07/14/2021 Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus) 1
07/14/2021 Ocola Skipper – Panoquina ocola 2
07/15/2021 Common Buckeye – Junonia coenia 1 Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’ (Black-eyed Susan)
07/15/2021 Sachem (Atalopedes campestris) 1
07/15/2021 Horace’s Duskywing – E. horatius 1
07/15/2021 Ocola Skipper – Panoquina ocola 1
07/16/2021 Cabbage White – Pieris rapae 1
07/16/2021 Horace’s Duskywing – E. horatius 4
07/16/2021 Common Buckeye – Junonia coenia 1
07/16/2021 Silver-spotted Skipper – Epargyreus clarus 2
07/16/2021 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) 2 (1 is dark morph)
07/16/2021 Black Swallowtail – Papilio polyxenes 1
07/16/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 2

Here are a few glimpses of the butterflies seen from 7/13/2021- 7/16/2021. In addition to the one mentioned above, there have been a few Eastern Tiger Swallowtails with a couple of sighting of a dark morph, one on July 14 and yesterday, July 16. I have no way to know if it’s the same individual, but the more recent one is decidedly aged.

07/13/2021 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

07/14/2021 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

07/16/2021 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) -Dark morph

07/16/2021 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) -Dark morph

07/13/2021 Hoary Edge – Achalarus lyciades (Originally I had misidentified it as Silver-spotted Skipper – Epargyreus clarus.)

07/13/2021 American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis)

07/13/2021 Sachem (Atalopedes campestris)

07/14/2021 Pearl crescent (Phyciodes tharos)

07/14/2021 Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)

07/14/2021 Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus)

There are other insects around of course. Now that Rudbeckia laciniata (Green-Headed Coneflower) is open in several parts of the garden, the bees gather eagerly.

07/14/2021 Bees on Rudbeckia laciniata (Green-Headed Coneflower)

Dragonflies have been prolific this year and this week I noticed a damselfly as well.

07/13/2021 Slaty Skimmer (Libellula incesta)

07/15/2021 Great Blue Skimmer (Libellula vibrans)

07/14/2021 Fragile Forktail (Ischnura posita)

Hope your gardens are filled with wondrous sights that fill you with awe.

Butterfly Journal For 7/2/2021- 7/12/2021

July 11, 2021 -Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

The number of butterfly sightings around pbmGarden has increased recently, perhaps simply because I am actively searching for them 2-3 times most days. Since my last report I have recorded 33 individuals from 10 species. The species are all normal for this region at this time of year.

07/03/2021 Gray Hairstreak – Strymon melinus 1
07/03/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 2 Common lantana; echinacea
07/04/2021 Sachem – Atalopedes campestris 1 Echinacea
07/04/2021 Silver-spotted Skipper – Epargyreus clarus 1
07/05/2021 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) 1 Buddleja davidii (Butterfly Bush)
07/05/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 1 Common lantana
07/06/2021 Ocola Skipper – Panoquina ocola 1 Verbena bonariensis
07/06/2021 Common Buckeye – Junonia coenia 1 Verbena bonariensis
07/06/2021 Gray Hairstreak – Strymon melinus 1 Echinacea
07/07/2021 Horace’s Duskywing – E. horatius 2 females (thanks to H. LeGrand for ID – 1 nectaring on common lantana; 1 on monarda
07/07/2021 ?Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 1 on peony leaves
07/09/2021 Silver-spotted Skipper – Epargyreus clarus 1 Buddleja davidii (Butterfly Bush)
07/09/2021 Horace’s Duskywing – E. horatius 1 Rudbeckia laciniata (Green-Headed Coneflower)
07/09/2021 Sachem (Atalopedes campestris) 2 Buddleja davidii (Butterfly Bush); Common lantana
07/09/2021 American Lady – Vanessa virginiensis 1 Verbena bonariensis
07/10/2021 Sachem (Atalopedes campestris) 1 Buddleja davidii (Butterfly Bush)
07/10/2021 Ocola Skipper – Panoquina ocola 1 Buddleja davidii (Butterfly Bush)
07/10/2021 Horace’s Duskywing – E. horatius 3 1 on Buddleja davidii (Butterfly Bush); 2 on Common lantana
07/11/2021 Horace’s Duskywing – E. horatius 2 1 on Buddleja davidii (Butterfly Bush); 1 on Common lantana
07/11/2021 Sachem (Atalopedes campestris) 2 Buddleja davidii (Butterfly Bush); Common lantana
07/11/2021 Ocola Skipper – Panoquina ocola 1 Common lantana
07/11/2021 American Lady – Vanessa virginiensis 1 Buddleja davidii (Butterfly Bush)
07/11/2021 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) 1 Buddleja davidii (Butterfly Bush)
07/12/2021 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) 1 Common lantana
07/12/2021 Silver-spotted Skipper – Epargyreus clarus 1 Common lantana and Rudbeckia laciniata (Green-Headed Coneflower)
07/12/2021 Horace’s Duskywing – E. horatius 1 Common lantana and Rudbeckia laciniata (Green-Headed Coneflower)

I am taking many photographs to help with identifications. Here are some representative butterflies seen during this period.

July 3, 2021 -Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus) on Liatris spicata ‘Blazing Star’

July 3, 2021 -Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)

July 6, 2021 -Ocola Skipper (Panoquina ocola)

July 6, 2021 -Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)

July 6, 2021 -Ovipositing Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus)

There have been 9 Horace’s during this period. Below is a fresh female and the following two images are a more worn female.

July 7, 2021 -Horace’s Duskywing (Erynnis horatius) -Female

July 7, 2021 -Horace’s Duskywing (Erynnis horatius) -Female. On Monarda (Bee Balm)

Same individual as above.

July 7, 2021 -Horace’s Duskywing (Erynnis horatius) -Female. On Monarda (Bee Balm)

Two views of same American Lady…

July 9, 2021 -American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis)

July 9, 2021 -American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis)

Skippers are difficult for me to identify. I have not noticed Sachems before this year. Either I haven’t seen them, I ignored them or possibly I mistook them for Fiery Skippers.

July 9, 2021 -Sachem (Atalopedes campestris)

July 10, 2021 -Horace’s Duskywing (Erynnis horatius) -1

July 10, 2021 -Ocola Skipper (Panoquina ocola)

Silver-spotted skippers are easy to identify and are frequent visitors to my garden.

July 11, 2021 -Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus)

Common lantana is in full bloom now, starting to attract many insects including this Ocola skipper.

July 11, 2021 -Ocola Skipper (Panoquina ocola)

July 11, 2021 -Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

July 11, 2021 -Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

The “silver” spot is not visible in this picture. I took this photo this morning and appreciate the butterfly choosing a color-coordinated background.

July 12, 2021 -Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus)

July 12 2021 -Horace’s Duskywing (Erynnis horatius)

For 2021 I have observed 100 individuals from 19 species.
There are 177 species known for the state of North Carolina and 105 in my particular county of Chatham.

Butterfly Journal For 6/25 – 7/1/2021

July 1,, 2021 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

[Note to self: Last Butterfly Journal entry title was dated 6/18 – 6/24 but actually included 6/25. Repeating 6/25/2021 entries.]

With very dry conditions it has been another slow week for butterfly sightings in my garden. (For purpose of synching my record keeping the first four listed are actually repeats from last week.)

06/25/2001 Cabbage White – Pieris rapae
06/25/2001 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)
06/25/2001 Eastern Tailed-Blue – Cupido comyntas
06/25/2001 Horace’s Duskywing – E. horatius
06/28/2001 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)
06/28/2001 Cabbage White – Pieris rapae
06/28/2001 Horace’s Duskywing – E. horatius.
06/29/2001 American Lady – Vanessa virginiensis
06/29/2001 Common Buckeye – Junonia coenia
06/29/2001 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus
07/01/2001 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

I was happy to see a couple of E. Tiger Swallowtails this week. One male was particularly focused on eating which allowed me a few close-ups.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) – Male

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) – Male

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) – Male

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) – Male

A few of you have commented you also are not seeing many butterflies this summer. Let’s hope that changes. Today at last a nice rain is falling that is expected to last throughout the day. Perhaps the water will encourage more flowers. Common lantana and Rudbeckia are just coming into bloom and usually attract many kinds of pollinators.

June 28, 2021 Horace’s Duskywing (Erynnis horatius)

I couldn’t quite get close enough to this buckeye, tucked into shadows of a large stand of button chrysanthemums.

Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)

Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)

In previous years there have been many skippers. This Fiery Skipper is among the few so far this summer.

Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)

Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)

Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)

Wishing for a balance in your weather this week.  Hope gardens and pollinators are bringing much joy.

Butterfly Journal For 6/18 – 6/24/2021 and Pollinator Week 2021

Cabbage White (Pieris rapae) and Verbena bonariensis

It has not been the most satisfying week for butterfly sightings in my garden.

06/19/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus
06/21/2021 Cabbage White – Pieris rapae
06/21/2021 Summer Azure – C. neglecta
06/23/2001 Cabbage White – Pieris rapae
06/23/2001 Skipper
06/24/2001 Cabbage White – Pieris rapae
[Note to self: Journal entry title was dated 6/18 – 6/24 but actually included 6/25]
06/25/2001 Cabbage White – Pieris rapae
06/25/2001 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)
06/25/2001 Eastern Tailed-Blue – Cupido comyntas
06/25/2001 ?Horace’s Duskywing – E. horatius

I have been reading butterfly lists from Carolina Leps scientists and/or serious amateurs who trek out to known areas in the two Carolinas to conduct surveys.  As example yesterday one person reported many species including 270 Zebra Swallowtails in 3 counties over 2 days, which I think would be amazing to encounter.  I was ecstatic seeing this one on June 5!

June 5, 2021 Zebra Swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus)

But I haven’t seen another Zebra.  Of the butterflies I saw since my last report, I was able to successfully photograph only the Cabbage White (Pieris rapae). Others were too quick and either I got very blurry images or none at all.

Cabbage White (Pieris rapae)

I did manage to photograph one (I think) Fiery Skipper this week.

6-19-2021  Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)

There seem to be very few skippers this year. I read yesterday an abundance of pondhawks may be a contributing factor and I have regularly seen Eastern Pondhawk (Erythemis simplicicollis).

June 12, 2021 Eastern Pondhawk (Erythemis simplicicollis)

The garden does not not have much blooming that is appealing to butterflies currently. Verbena bonariensis has been key in providing nectar to lure them. Much is going to seed now though and attracting American Goldfinches (which are fun to see). I have cut back some of the verbena hoping it will flower again. Rabbits nibbled away several sowings of zinnias. I finally planted a few zinnia seeds in trays and successfully transplanted them without incident once they were of size, a step I find infuriating when for years I could toss a handful of seeds that would soon flower the rest of summer without a bit of care. Pouting doesn’t seem to help though and everyone seems to be having increased issues with rabbits.

In honor of Pollinator Week 2021 that runs Mon, Jun 21, 2021 – Sun, Jun 27, 2021 I took a quick tour yesterday afternoon to see what plants were appealing to bees at the moment. There were a mix of bees but some were camera-shy so it was difficult to catch a representative sample with the camera. I haven’t tried to ID them yet. Instead I decided to concentrate on showing the plants they are visiting.

Gladiolus ‘Purple Flora’

Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’ attracts lots of bees and sometimes hummingbirds.

Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’

One blue salvia flower was caught in a calla lily leaf but the bee wanted to feed on it anyway. His weight knocked the bloom off and bee and flower tumbled into the pot holding the lily. I couldn’t tell if he were stunned or still feeding as I moved on.

Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’

Bee on flower of Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’

A friend grew this dwarf Tiny Tim tomato from seed and shared a couple plants with us.

Tomato ‘Tiny Tim’

Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)

Lamb’s Ears are ready to be cut back and thinned but I hesitate when the bees are enjoying it.

Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear)

Salvia nemorosa ‘Blue Hill’ (Meadow Sage)

Phlox paniculata ‘Robert Poore’ (Garden phlox)

Not bees, but observed yesterday, a Blue Dasher and a Snowberry Clearwing.

Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis) on Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)

Snowberry Clearwing (Hemaris diffinis) on Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower)

The coneflowers are looking strong this year. Most are pink but ‘White Swan’ seemed to grab most of my attention.

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea ‘White Swan’ (Coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea ‘White Swan’ (Coneflower)

A butterfly joined the echinacea circle for the briefest time.

Horace’s Duskywing (Erynnis horatius)

Here’s a fresh look at Echinacea ‘White Swan’, having one of its best years.

Echinacea purpurea ‘White Swan’ (Coneflower)

Hope you are enjoying plants and pollinators this weekend.

Butterfly Journal For June 11-17, 2021

Since my last report the morning of June 11 when I noted so much trouble getting a photo of a Common Buckeye, I have seen three more. Two were quite cooperative—one looked very colorful and fresh; the other looked worse for the wear.

June 12, 2021 Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)

June 15, 2021 Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)

I have seen a couple of Fiery Skippers on verbena bonariensis. Once common lantana and Rudbeckia laciniata (Green-Headed Coneflower) come into flower I expect many more. These images are the same individual.

June 15, 2021 Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)

June 15, 2021 Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)

 

There was a glimpse of a fast moving Pipevine Swallowtail, but unlike last week I could not get a good images this time. This one is heavily cropped.

June 14, 2021 Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor)

Two updates: I had some ID help through a facebook group Carolina Leps with a couple of mystery insects in last week’s post. The Southern Broken-Dash (Wallengrenia otho) was confirmed so that’s a first in the garden for me.

An insect I tentatively thought was Zarucco Duskywing (Erynnis zarucco) of June 8, 2021 is probably Horace’s Duskywing. I was told Zarucco couldn’t be ruled out but it is not commonly found in a garden setting.

I spotted two more Horace’s Duskywings this week.

June 11, 2021 Horace’s Duskywing (Erynnis horatius)

June 14, 2021 Horace’s Duskywing (Erynnis horatius)

In early June I glimpsed a few Eastern Tiger Swallowtails but they would just fly over the garden and not stop.  Yesterday as I turned into my driveway I saw a beautiful male in the front yard nectaring on Echinacea purpurea ‘White Swan’ (Coneflower).

June 16, 2021 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) on Echinacea purpurea ‘White Swan’ (Coneflower)

Another brief happenstance moment allowed me to record another first in the garden this week. I stood back trying to photograph this newly opened gladiolus when a butterfly landed in the distance.

June 14, 2021 Question Mark (Polygonia interrogationis)

Knowing I was too far away I took a shot anyway. It was the only image I could get before the butterfly flew off again (see below).  Turns out the original picture above with the glad captured the butterfly too (below left-most red daylily). Though I hadn’t seen this one in person before I recognized it from others’ posts on the Carolina Leps page as Question Mark (Polygonia interrogationis).

June 14, 2021 Question Mark (Polygonia interrogationis)

Cropped view:

June 14, 2021 Question Mark (Polygonia interrogationis)

Butterfly Journal For June 5-11, 2021

Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor)

This week the most prevalent butterfly in my garden was the Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus) of which I counted 5 on 4 different days throughout the week (06/06/2021 – 06/11/2021).

Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus)

Aside from the easily recognizable Silver-spotted Skipper, identifying most of the skippers is a challenge. iNaturalist suggests possibilities and I am tentatively calling this Southern Broken-Dash (Wallengrenia otho), hoping for a confirmation. I saw a similar one the next day, but couldn’t get close enough for a photo. There usually are many skippers but I’ve never recorded this kind before, so am skeptical.  [UPDATE: 6-17-2021 ID from Carolina Leps confirms as Southern Broken-Dash, a first for me.]

Southern Broken-Dash (Wallengrenia otho) ???

On June 8 and 11 I encountered the first Duskywings of the year. iNaturalist has not been much help so far in identifying these either. I tentatively listed one as Zarucco Duskywing (Erynnis zarucco) and the second as Horace’s Duskywing -(E. horatius), but my photographs are not very clear. I thinks it’s possible they could be the same individual. [UPDATE: 6-17-2021 ID from Carolina Leps suggest this is probably Horace’s Duskywing (Erynnis horatius).]

Zarucco Duskywing (Erynnis zarucco) ???  June 8, 2021 Horace’s Duskywing (Erynnis horatius)

Horace’s Duskywing (Erynnis horatius)  ???  June 11, 2021

On each of 3 days I encountered a Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia). This little butterfly flits all over the garden and has been difficult to photograph. In the shortest amount of time it lands briefly on clover or grass, mulch, iris and penstemon leaves, not caring it could have a lovely portrait made if it would just be still! One finally slowed down a fraction to nectar on the butterfly bush.

Common Buckeye – Junonia coenia

Common Buckeye – Junonia coenia

While fretting around the butterfly bush trying to photograph the buckeye I enjoyed the happenstance of a cool moth sighting. I managed a few images of  a Hummingbird Clearwing (Hemaris thysbe) (June 11, 2021).  Gotta love those wings!

Hummingbird Clearwing (Hemaris thysbe)

Hummingbird Clearwing (Hemaris thysbe)

Hummingbird Clearwing (Hemaris thysbe)

My favorite butterfly visitor this week was on 6/9/2021, another Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor), the third in the garden this year. Its colors were so rich as if it were freshly inked!

Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor)

Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor)

Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor)

Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor)

There were flowers happening throughout the garden too which I will share another time.  Off to attend the Plant Symposium.  Enjoy your weekend!

 

Swallowtail Sighting

Zebra Swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus)

Since 2018 I have seen a single Zebra Swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus) each year. Today was the day for 2021. I hope it won’t be the only one but at any rate it was thrilling to see this exotic looking butterfly this afternoon. It was sunny and 88 degrees F.

Zebra Swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus)

Zebra Swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus)

Zebra Swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus)

Zebra Swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus)

For the record I also saw two Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus) earlier this morning and another (or one of the same) this afternoon. Verbena bonariensis was the attraction for both species.

Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus)

 

More Butterflies on Friday

Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor)

Accurately recording the butterflies seen in the garden this year is one of my goals, so I’m doing a bit of record keeping this afternoon to help me keep track.

Most of the time it is just a coincidence when I happen to spot one. That was the case at late morning when I noticed a Black Swallowtail flying around a front side border. It came to rest on some mulch in the front side bed and was patient for a brief time while I tried for a picture. Soon though I got too close. It lifted up and flew off over the house.

Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)

I scurried to the back garden to see if I could relocate the black swallowtail. Sure enough there was a butterfly in the meditation circle, but it proved to be a different one.

Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor)

With a frantic flight pattern the butterfly darted from flower to flower, ignoring the usually popular verbena bonariensis in favor of Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’.  I’ve been planning to clear out much of this penstemon from the meditation circle to make the path walkable again. But I may leave it a while longer. Bees love it and last year hummingbirds darted through it frequently, though I’m not sure if they fed.

Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor)

Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor)

With help from iNaturalist I identified the butterfly as a Pipevine Swallowtail.

Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor)

The first butterfly I saw this morning, the black swallowtail, got away. I didn’t see it again today. No photo but I did see another Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus) to add to my 2021 inventory.

 

Thursday Journal

The crinum lily began opening this week. Here’s a closeup from yesterday.

Crinum × powellii (Swamp Lily)

After some overnight rain the garden seemed to be breathing a sigh of relief.  My early morning stroll around the garden yielded nice surprises.

I’ve been checking this salvia all week and today found flowers at last. The petals are a luscious blue.

Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’

Ascending from among iris leaves and verbena bonariensis is a patch of lavender in the southern side garden, its first flowers drawing an attentive bee.

Lavender

Lavender

I knew the gardenias in the north-facing border were loaded with buds this year but discovering them today just opened in early daylight was a wonder. The fresh petals and irresistible scent are a winsome combination.  There are about 3 bushes, grown up about 7 feet high. My former next-door neighbor rooted them in little yogurt cups and shared them with me soon after we moved in. (We just passed our twenty year mark having closed on our house May 31, 2021.)

Gardenia jasminoides (Gardenia) loaded with buds and the first flowers

Gardenia jasminoides (Gardenia)

Gardenia jasminoides (Gardenia)

Gardenia jasminoides (Gardenia)

Gardenia jasminoides (Gardenia)

Gardenia jasminoides (Gardenia)

Gardenia jasminoides (Gardenia)

Gardenia jasminoides (Gardenia)

Gardenia jasminoides (Gardenia)

I added three new salvia plants this spring. One has formed spires, the first of which revealed itself this morning.

Salvia nemorosa ‘Blue Hill’ (Meadow Sage)

I adore hydrangeas but have not had success with them. This passalong H. macrophylla  is having perhaps its best bloom year yet, despite a late cold snap.

Hydrangea macrophylla

Hydrangea macrophylla

Yesterday I spotted and chased around a tiny butterfly trying to capture its image. This morning I stumbled upon it (or maybe a cousin) in a much more cooperative mood. I was able to see this Eastern Tailed-Blue much closer up than yesterday. It was surprising to see one active early on such a cloudy day.

Eastern Tailed-Blue (Cupido comyntas)

Eastern Tailed-Blue (Cupido comyntas)

Eastern Tailed-Blue (Cupido comyntas) on artemisia 

It was thundering like it meant it this afternoon as I began to write, and soon a heavy much-needed rain began to fall. Reverberating claps followed bright streaks of lightning the likes of which we hadn’t experienced in a long while. There is now a steady rain which I hope will continue for a while and return as needed to provide moderate and regular intervals the rest of the summer.

Looking ahead, I still have a few dahlias to plant out and new seed packs as well as saved seeds to do something with. I finally have a handful of zinnia seedlings the rabbits have not found. A tomato volunteered in its spot from last year and a friend passed along two Tiny Tim tomatoes he grew from seed.

The first of the shastas is open and lilies (daylilies and asiatic) look promising. Thanks for sauntering along through the garden with me today.

Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta Daisy)

Lilium ‘Black Out’ (Asiatic lily)

 

Butterflies

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)

I chased a butterfly around yesterday afternoon, a tiny one named Eastern Tailed-Blue (Cupido comyntas). It did not let me approach very close so the pictures just give a hint of what it looks like in person.

It lit on a brick edging of the meditation circle, so here you can get an idea of the relative size.

Eastern Tailed-Blue (Cupido comyntas)

I had to enlarge the image a lot to show detail. Can you make out the tail?

Eastern Tailed-Blue (Cupido comyntas)

The Eastern Tailed-Blue moved onto clover in the grass and eventually I could see the wings open.

Eastern Tailed-Blue (Cupido comyntas) – center

Wings partly open:

Eastern Tailed-Blue (Cupido comyntas) -below and right of center

Here it is enlarged with the wings open.

Eastern Tailed-Blue (Cupido comyntas)

Another Silver-spotted Skipper visited yesterday enticed by the ever popular verbena bonariensis. It moved around quickly also but stayed let me near for pictures.

Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus)

Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus)

I saw one Monarch butterfly 6 weeks ago, April 13, 2021, when there was little blooming for it to enjoy. The southern side path is ready for them now. The Asclepias tuberosa has more light this year and has responded accordingly.

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)

In And Out And All About

Temperatures are forecast to climb toward 90s F. this weekend. Rain? None still.

Peonies are fading away. They have been exceptional this year and I have stored away a few in the refrigerator to bring out for fun later.  It’s been glorious to have vases of them arranged through the house for the past several weeks. A side shoot from a stem of Paeonia ‘Madame Emile Debatene’ surprised me by opening into a tender pale pink version this week, and tiny—just two inches in diameter. It is so delicate compared to the usual expression, which I will show first for comparison.

Paeonia ‘Madame Emile Debatene’ (5-7 inches across)

Paeonia ‘Madame Emile Debatene’ (2 inches across and pale pink)

I have a couple of Phalaenopsis (grocery store impulses) that re-bloom reliably despite neglect. This one has been blooming for several months.

Phalaenopsis (Moth Orchid)

A Christmas gift from our lovely niece keeps on giving. This view is ten days ago looking from the back porch into the garden. The unopened bud seen here is now the only one remaining.

Hippeastrum (Amaryllis) May 22, 2021

The oakleaf hydrangea suffered quite a lot of damage from late cold snaps, but portions have recovered.

Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ (Lil’ Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)

Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ (Lil’ Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)

While planting zinnia seeds on Wednesday I heard the unmistakable flutter of a hummingbird and looked up just in time to see it pause mid-air, then disappear. There have been a few early butterfly sightings starting April 4 but getting good photographs has been challenging. Finally yesterday a cooperative Silver-spotted Skipper let me get close as it sipped on Verbena bonariensis.

Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus)

Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus)

An American Lady preferred our weedy front lawn but was too skittish to allow me near.

American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis)

American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis)

I’ve spotted Cabbage Whites (maybe the same one and very camera-shy) for several days. I can’t quite be sure from this picture but I think it is exploring the non-native weed in the foreground called Potentilla indica (Mock Strawberry).  The plant spreads along creeping stolens and is a constant problem.

Cabbage White (Pieris rapae)

Potentilla indica forms a small, bright red berry, non-poisonous but apparently not delicious.

Potentilla indica (Mock Strawberry)

Another problem in  my garden is a plant I actually love, but I have developed a skin rash to spiderwort. I have tried for years to get rid of it without success.  Within a couple minutes of touching spiderwort my skin turns red, swells, and itches. It does attract pollinators and it is photogenic. I once painted a white front porch column with it when I was a small child (and subsequently had to scrub the column).

Spiderwort

Another spreader, but one I don’t mind, is Lamb’ Ears. It was a passalong that I’ve had for many years. It wanders until I rein it back.

Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear)

Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear)

The first echinacea opened a week ago, rising up through a clump of spiderwort. There are many more that return each year around the garden.

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Mostly the many Husker Red penstemons are calm and stately, but I snapped this boisterous shot of one towering above dianthus. The dianthus are colorful but I must come to their defense. I’m not sure why they appear so bubblegum pink.

Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue) and Dianthus

Have a great weekend and thanks for reading!

Friday Reflections

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

The weather has been ideal for gardening this week and I have put in a few hours each day and nearly all day on Thursday.  There are so many tasks that need attention that no matter which one I set out to do, I am finding it hard not to become distracted and end up working on something else.

I have been planting seeds, bulbs, perennials and dahlias.  I must have really craved color and flowers this winter, but it is hard to know where I imagined I could plant everything I ordered.

As part of my “Friday reflections” I wrote and then deleted paragraphs about weeds, bermuda grass infestations, yellow jacket nests. Sharing the positive highlights of the garden is more exciting.

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Dianthus Ideal Select Mix

This week I have seen butterflies: monarch, black swallowtail, and a pearl crescent (every day). None was interested in posing for me or even getting close so the image quality is poor, but I want to post them here as a record.

Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)

Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos)

I was pleased to see a Bumble Bee checking out the ‘Pride of Gibraltar’ Hummingbird Cerinthe.

Bumble Bee and ‘Pride of Gibraltar’ Hummingbird Cerinthe

Bumble Bee and ‘Pride of Gibraltar’ Hummingbird Cerinthe

A green anole sunned on the back garage steps and scurried just for a moment each time I passed, before settling back into its sunny spot.

Green Anole (Anolis carolinensis)

More irises opened and others are close. This is one my garden blogger friend from Petals and Wings (now mostly on instagram) sent me last fall. I’m not sure if they will bloom this year but they are growing and look healthy. The variegated foliage caught my attention and the flower is purple/blue.

Iris (passalong)

Iris (passalong)

Many of my Iris tectorum have disappeared in the past couple years, so I am especially happy to welcome this one back.

Iris tectorum (Japanese Roof Iris)

Another iris of note, this one is one of the only ones I have actually purchased.

Iris germanica ‘Raspberry Blush’

Iris germanica ‘Raspberry Blush’

Iris germanica ‘Raspberry Blush’

Hope you are having a wonderful week in and out of the garden.

Sunday Notebook

Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos)

This week I have seen 5 or 6 Eastern Tiger Butterflies—a couple passing through the garden and others along the highway into town. But I have not been able to get any pictures.

Yesterday though I had my first opportunity of 2021 to photograph a butterfly when a Pearl Crescent stopped briefly on Eastern red columbine (until I tried to take its picture). Then it fluttered around and settled down on the mulched ground beneath.  This is a small and common butterfly of North America.

The video belies just how active the butterfly was. I had switched to video because the wings had been beating so quickly I couldn’t get a good image. As soon as I started the video the crescent seemed to calm down and just totally chill.

Several kinds of irises have opened enough now to make a nice, colorful display.

Iris germanica ‘Orinoco Flow’

Iris germanica ‘Orinoco Flow’ and Iris ‘Crimson King’

Iris ‘Crimson King’

Iris ‘Crimson King’

Iris ‘Crimson King’

Nearly two dozen white Dutch Iris opened this week in a small narrow patch beside the driveway. They have been happy here for many years.

Iris × hollandica (Dutch Iris)

There is only one of this sapphire blue Dutch iris. This really is the color, just amazing.

Iris × hollandica (Dutch Iris)

Yellow pine pollen has been coating everything, the plants, flowers, porch furniture. It seems much worse than usual. A few thunderstorms helped clear the air overnight but it quickly builds back up.

Dianthus Ideal Select Mix

Post-vaccination, I resumed teaching my weekly gentle yoga and meditation class this morning at the wellness center. (My last in-person class was March 13, 2020.) Some classes are beginning to meet in person outdoors or with a limited number of people in the studios but mine is a virtual incarnation for now. It was great to see familiar faces and hear voices and laughter.

Have a great week everyone!