Tag Archives: Early August Garden

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.

Sunday Morning Musings

Dahlia sp.

Brief though it was I just experienced my first earthquake.   I noticed, wondered, then forgot all about it until I saw some news reports that confirmed a magnitude 5.1 earthquake was reported in Sparta, North Carolina, and felt across the Triangle at around 8 a.m. According to the U. S. Geological Survey database the this is the second strongest earthquake to occur in NC since 1900. The strongest was a 5.2 magnitude earthquake near Skyland, NC in February 1916.

The earthquake bookends a week that began with approaching Hurricane Isaias.  Here in central North Carolina we were spared any problems. We had some rain, mostly on Monday, the day before the hurricane made landfall on the coast. By Tuesday afternoon with the weather cleared, the only affected area in my garden was the Rudbeckia laciniata (Green-Headed Coneflower). Its stems were bent horizontal and its yellow petals had been stripped, leaving exposed the green cone heads.

Rudbeckia laciniata (Green-Headed Coneflower)

We continued to have brief thunderstorms through the week. On Wednesday morning the flowers which struggle so much during the hot days looked much refreshed. Cerinthe, for example, is much wilted by day’s end but gives no sign of the stress after nourishment from the rain overnight.

‘Pride of Gibraltar’ Hummingbird Cerinthe

Rabbits are still driving me crazy but from a second planting of zinnias I finally had one flower open yesterday from a second sowing.

Zinnia (first of 2020)

There is a 15 by 3-foot strip along the fence that was supposed to host the zinnias. Can you see the rabbit sitting in the very spot the seedlings were nibbled to oblivion? I think this is a descendent of the original culprit. I don’t know how many generations there are in one summer but I found two the day I took this picture and one was really tiny.

Run, Rabbit, Run

There is not much satisfaction in chasing the rabbit. It only goes a short distance and waits. He did at last “high tail it” to the other side of the garden!

Run, Rabbit, Run

There were a few Eastern Tiger Swallowtails in the garden, lingering longer this week than last among the butterfly bush, verbena bonariensis and lantana. This one on purple coneflower seems to illustrate “life ain’t been no bowl of cherries.” I once was given that title as a prompt for a writing assignment. The expression is stuck in my head lately after recently receiving a surprise in the mail—a packet of themes returned to me by my ninth grade English teacher. Though the “bowl of cherries” paper was not among them, still that phrase crops up every once in a while, as it did when I spotted the poor swallowtail.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Here is the dark form. They both are female.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

I’ve seen a lot of Fiery and Ocola skippers this summer and finally spotted one that looks a bit different.  I think it is [ 8-9-2020 update: Eufala Skipper (Lerodea eufala)  Lerema accius (Clouded Skipper).]

Lerema accius (Clouded Skipper)

A duskywing raced among verbena bonariensis flower heads (I couldn’t get a decent photo). Tentatively I have identified it as Wild Indigo Duskywing (Erynnis baptisiae).

Wild Indigo Duskywing (Erynnis baptisiae)

This Slaty Skimmer (Libellula incesta) perched on the favorite bamboo stake near dahlias, steering clear of me as much as it could until it finally allowed a few shots.

Slaty Skimmer (Libellula incesta)

Nearby on the fence sat a strange insect, rather large and ominous.   iNaturalist is very helpful in identifying most of the visitors that show up in the garden. This is Red-footed Cannibal Fly (Promachus rufipes), a species of robber flies.

Red-footed Cannibal Fly (Promachus rufipes)

I saw four social media posts this week featuring a new introduction, Phlox paniculata ‘Jeana’. All reports indicate this lavender pink phlox is truly a butterfly magnet. I looked it up and found also in its favor is its excellent resistance to powdery mildew.  I would like a color other than pink but maybe I will give this one a try. I have failed multiple times to establish garden phlox in colors other than pink P. ‘Robert Poore’.  Never have white-flowered P. ‘David’ or ‘White Flame’ nor the dark magenta purple P. ‘Nicky’ made it through one season in my garden.

Phlox paniculata ‘Robert Poore’ (Garden phlox)

We watched an interesting movie this week called The Gardener, which is a lovely tribute to Frank Cabot’s vision and passion in creating a twenty-acre English style private garden in Canada. Cabot founded the nonprofit The Garden Conservancy.

Gardens bring surprises. A single rose bloomed unexpectedly this week on Virgie’s passalong.

Virgie’s Rose

Most of the flowerheads on Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ (Lil’ Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea) turned completely brown during July’s searing heat and no rain. It would be nice to see it one year covered in flowers turning red.

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

Hummingbirds are becoming even more plentiful lately. They used to make morning rounds to sip from salvias and now show up more frequently throughout the day. This redbud branch is a favorite perch. Sometimes when I am in the garden I forget to look up. Do you know that feeling when you finally do glance skyward?