Tag Archives: Clouded Skipper (Lerema accius)

Butterfly Journal For 10/01/2021 – 10/07/2021

October 2, 2021 – Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

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.

October 3, 2021 – Common Checkered-Skipper (Burnsius communis)

October 3, 2021 – Common Checkered-Skipper (Burnsius communis)

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).

October 3, 2021 – Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

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.

October 3, 2021 – Clouded Skipper (Lerema accius)

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.

Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)

Happy Butterflying or enjoying nature in any way you can.

 

October’s Beginning

Iris germanica ‘Immortality’

Immortality is a reblooming iris that has been surprising me with fresh blooms.

Thursday I had a fun but frustrating few minutes chasing a Red-spotted Purple (Limenitis arthemis ssp. astyanax).

(iNaturalist originally suggested this was Red-spotted Admiral (Limenitis arthemis) but the identification has been updated by two reviewers. The only other time I’ve recorded one in my garden is August 29, 2015. It may also have been incorrectly identified. Will have to check on that.)

Much quicker than I, this one escaped several close-up portraits so I can only show drastically cropped images.

Red-spotted Purple (Limenitis arthemis ssp. astyanax) (earlier misidentified as Red-spotted Admiral)
Red-spotted Purple (Limenitis arthemis ssp. astyanax) (earlier misidentified as Red-spotted Admiral)

I rely heavily on iNaturalist for identifications but its artificial intelligence algorithms are imperfect. It suggested Polites peckius, the Peck’s skipper for the next, but in fact the insect is yet another of the much more common Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus). When after a few hours no iNaturalist reviewer had seconded that id I submitted the images to Carolina Leps (Butterflies and Moths), a Facebook forum with local and willing experts. So okay, plenty of fieries this year.

Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)

For a week I have spotted a yellow butterfly sailing high across the garden and finally yesterday managed a quick shot of a Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebis sennae). Generally butterflies prefer flowers which are single in form, but the cloudless stopped at several of the frilly, fringed Dahlia ‘Tsuku Yori No Shisha’. Who could resist it!

Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebis sennae)

I have seen several clouded skippers this year and posted one earlier in the week. This one landed yesterday on a segment of verbena bonariensis that still has fresh flowers. Most have gone to seed. These images captured the markings and detail of Clouded Skipper (Lerema accius), so I am sharing them here for reference.

Clouded Skipper (Lerema accius)
Clouded Skipper (Lerema accius)
Clouded Skipper (Lerema accius)

Hope you had a chance to marvel at October’s harvest moon. Enjoy a fine weekend and thanks for reading.

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.