Tag Archives: Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

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 7/17/2021- 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.] 

[Note: Updated 9/30/2021 – Taxon change.  Old nomenclature changed from Hoary Edge – Achalarus lyciades to Hoary Edge – Thorybes 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 and 9/30/2021:]
07/13/2021 Silver-spotted Skipper – Epargyreus clarus Hoary Edge – Achalarus lyciades Hoary Edge – Thorybes 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.)  [Note 2: Updated 9/30/2021 – Taxon change.  Old nomenclature changed from Hoary Edge – Achalarus lyciades to Hoary Edge – Thorybes lyciades]

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 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 Sightings Today

Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor)

Today was an interesting time for seeing a variety of butterflies in my garden.  Checking twice for a few minutes each time yielded some firsts for me, novice that I am. Nothing I saw is rare or unexpected for this county at this time of year, but it was exciting nonetheless to see so many different things here in one day.

11:17-11:25 am
Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor) First of year (saw one last year August 15, 2019)
Long-tailed Skipper (Urbanus proteus) First life sighting
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

12:33-12:48 pm
Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus)
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) 3 yellow and 3 dark morphs (6 total).
Monarch (Danaus plexippus)
Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor) (same individual as earlier judging by the missing tail)
American Snout (Libytheana carinenta) First life sighting
Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia) (spotted one earlier session but couldn’t get photo)
Cabbage White (Pieris rapae)

[Addendum: Later in the afternoon around 3:30 pm I saw a Black Swallowtail on zinnias in front yard, but had no camera handy.]

I spent most of the first session watching this beautiful creature with its gorgeous blue. It checked out verbena bonariensis briefly but once it found the lantana nearby it was content to stay put.

Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor)

Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor)

Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor)

Just as the swallowtail drifted to the back side out of view, this amazing skipper landed beside me.  The tail of the long-tailed skipper definitely stood out as did the blue coloration. I had about 5 seconds to enjoy it before it flew off.

Long-tailed Skipper (Urbanus proteus)

While eating lunch I had seen a white butterfly flash by so I stepped back into the garden with the camera for session 2, but of course it was not in sight. I checked out the butterfly bush where six Eastern Tiger Swallowtails were hanging out.

A Silver-spotted Skipper landed out of nowhere. I have seen several this week. A quick photo shoot sent it off elsewhere, so I went back to the E. T. Swallowtails.

Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

A Monarch landed on nearby Rudbeckia laciniata (Green-Headed Coneflower) and posed.

Monarch (Danaus plexippus)

Moving to the southern border where the lantana is I spotted (probably the same) Pipevine Swallowtail again.

Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor)

Across the garden I noticed action in the northern border. In the iris bed feeding on salvia is where I saw my first ever American Snout (Libytheana carinenta).  I was not sure what it was but “snout” came to mind!

American Snout (Libytheana carinenta)

Taking one more glance around I spotted a Common Buckeye. I had seen one earlier but could not get a photo.  Perhaps it was the same one, no way to know. Lovely and distinctive markings make it fun to see.

Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)

The white butterfly reappeared. It was a Cabbage White.

Cabbage White (Pieris rapae)

Cabbage White (Pieris rapae)

 

An August Sunday Album

My grandmother’s mossy front yard held a magical surprise and each summer I was delighted by the appearance of her spider lilies. Finally in 2015 I added some to my own garden and today was the magical day they burst forth into bloom.

Lycoris radiata (Spider Lily)

Lycoris radiata (Spider Lily)

Lycoris radiata (Spider Lily)

Usually there are plentiful zinnias to use indoors butI have left them outside for now, the few zinnias from a second sowing. Finally they are in bloom, six or seven weeks later than normal due to the rabbit “crisis”.

Zinnia

Zinnia

Zinnia

Zinnia

Nearby, asclepias has rebloomed.

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)

There are other small pleasures.

Rudbeckia laciniata (Green-Headed Coneflower)

Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)

Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)

Dahlia ‘Cafe Au Lait’

Unknown dahlia

Phlox paniculata ‘Robert Poore’ (Garden phlox)

Lathyrus latifolius (Everlasting sweet pea)

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Salvia uliginosa ‘Blue Sky’ (Bog sage)

Lantana will continue well into October. On any given day it is a popular gathering place for butterflies and skippers. Today there were six Eastern Tiger Swallowtails, yesterday swallowtails and a couple of monarchs.

Lantana camara (Common lantana)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

The oakleaf hydrangea leaves point toward autumn, as do changes in light and pulsating sounds of cicadas, but mostly there is just a knowing deep inside, an inner sense that fall is near.  Every time I stepped outside this past week I felt it.

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

Garden Observations

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

It has been too hot for me to want to garden but occasionally I step outside with the camera to survey the visitors.

Early this morning I spotted a skipper flying erratically among Verbena bonariensis flowers along the front drive.

Ocola Skipper (Panoquina ocola)

Ocola Skipper (Panoquina ocola)

In the main garden in the back yard a large bush of common lantana draws many insects, as does the nearby Blue Sky salvia, both growing in the southern border. In the western border along the back fence a butterfly bush offers enticement.

Unlike last week when they merely passed through, several eastern tiger swallowtails spent the day.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

In addition to the swallowtail, this morning in quick succession I enjoyed seeing some favorites return.  There was a male monarch in good condition bouncing back and forth between the lantana and salvia.

Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

While photographing the monarch a Common Buckeye appeared, first one this year for me.

Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)

Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)

Can you spot where it fled to escape my persistent camera?

Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)

I left the common buckeye alone once the first Hummingbird Clearwing of the season suddenly came into view. It has an easily recognizable profile.

Hummingbird Clearwing (Hemaris thysbe)

Hummingbird Clearwing (Hemaris thysbe)

The Hummingbird Clearwing didn’t stay still but it stayed around long enough for me to take portraits.

Hummingbird Clearwing (Hemaris thysbe)

Hummingbird Clearwing (Hemaris thysbe)

Within just a few minutes I was cheered to see such interesting creatures. Hope the garden is feeding your soul this August.

 

National Pollinator Week

In case you haven’t noticed it’s National Pollinator Week. Butterflies seem scarce this year in my garden so it was nice to spot a lovely male swallowtail enjoying echinacea in the side garden.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Summer In The Garden

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
(Papilio glaucus) July 26, 2019

Today I am documenting some highlights of my summer garden, focusing mostly on zinnias and butterflies.

With the removal of some diseased junipers in spring, the southern border is filled with sunshine once again. Black-eyed Susans planted in 2012 at last are coming into their own in response to the improved conditions. Basking in the sun, Salvia greggii ‘Furman’s Red’ (Autumn Sage), added in 2014, also has thrived for the first time.  I am not a fan of combining yellow and red, but there it is, undeniably red and yellow.  I must have planted the salvia at a time when the black-eyed Susans were failing.

For years there has been a circular cutting garden of zinnias in summer. This year even more zinnias fill in along the fence where the trees had stood. I don’t miss the trees as much as I thought I would. They were planted for privacy, but this year at least I’m enjoying the openness of the garden and the white backdrop of the fence.

Southern Border August 10, 2019

Sunlight enhances the Blue Sky Salvia as we look across toward the dogwood at the other side of the garden. This salvia is a favorite of bees. There are fewer bees this year, especially fewer honey bees. Large carpenter bees are present, though perhaps fewer of them as well.

Late Summer Garden August 10, 2019

Somewhere I saved this year’s zinnia seed packages but I have yet to record their names. They are various mixes. I am particularly pleased with some of the red zinnias this year. There are some gorgeous reds among the rainbow of colors.

Red Zinnia August 5, 2019

A yellow with red freckled zinnia and this one below that seems to be wearing a smear of lipstick on each petal are the only novelty ones in the mix. Elsewhere I have a few cactus zinnias.

Zinnia

I have grown zinnias for 40 years and value their cheerfulness and reliability throughout the hottest part of summer until the first October frost. Each year from mid to late summer they and a few key plants like lantana provide extra zing in the garden, attracting a wide range of insects.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

It has been a spectacular year for butterflies, especially for Eastern Tiger Swallowtails.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) On Lantana camara (Common lantana) August 13, 2019

Yesterday the lantana was a hub of activity as this 16-second amateur video shows.

Zinnias are very popular with the butterflies.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) August 12, 2019

A few other swallowtail varieties have been visible. They are exciting to discover and try to identify. In late May this Spicebush Swallowtail appeared just in time to enjoy white bell-shaped flowers of Husker Red Penstemon.

Spicebush Swallowtail (Papilio troilus) May 28, 2019

In early July I recorded seeing this striking Zebra Swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus) just as the first lantana flowers were opening.

Zebra Swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus) July 1, 2019

Black Swallowtails have been active here this summer with multiple sightings. Here are couple of my favorite photos of them.

Male Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes) July 26, 2019

(Female?) Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes) August 10, 2019

I spotted a monarch August 10, 2019 and hope to enjoy more in the coming weeks. They usually pass through in September and October.

Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

Historically the garden averages one sighting of Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) each year.  Happily I have seen many the past few weeks.

Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) August 10, 2019

Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) August 10, 2019

In previous years I have spotted one or two Snowberry Clearwing (Hemaris diffinis), but this season they are often seen frequenting plants such as Verbena bonariensis (an all-around pollinator favorite), lantana, Buddleja and zinnia.

Snowberry Clearwing (Hemaris diffinis) August 10, 2019

Snowberry Clearwing (Hemaris diffinis) August 10, 2019

No signs this year of Hummingbird Clearwing (Hemaris thysbe).  There are plenty of actual hummingbirds though. Sometimes I find myself face to face with one and we both pause for an instant, its wings and my heart pounding. My camera is never ready so I just stop and notice. I have never used a hummingbird feeder in this garden but the birds find reason to visit, making the same rounds through the flowers as the insects.

iNaturalist has been a great resource for help with identification of garden visitors.

Here are more entries from the summer guest book for pbmGarden.

Variegated Fritillary
(Euptoieta claudia) July 22, 2019

Cabbage White (Pieris rapae) August 6, 2019

Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebis sennae) August 10, 2019

Eight-spotted Forester
Alypia octomaculata (Fabricius, 1775) June 12, 2019

Great Blue Skimmer
(Libellula vibrans) August 6, 2019

Blue Dasher
(Pachydiplax longipennis) August 6, 2019

Slaty Skimmer Libellula incesta) July 4, 2019

Widow Skimmer (Libellula luctuosa) June 26, 2019

Common whitetail (Plathemis lydia) August 12, 2019

Eastern Amberwing (Perithemis tenera) August 6, 2019

Eastern Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa virginica) May 27, 2019

In case you are not familiar with iNaturalist I cannot recommend it enough. It has been a great resource for help in identifying my garden visitors. There is an app and a website.

Partial List of Fauna and Flora

Fauna

Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)
Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)
Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis) August 6
Cabbage White (Pieris rapae) August 6
Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebis sennae) August 10
Common whitetail (Plathemis lydia) August 12
Eastern Amberwing (Perithemis tenera) August 6
Eastern Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa virginica)
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)
Eight-spotted Forester Moth (Alypia octomaculata) Jun 12
Great Blue Skimmer (Libellula vibrans) August 6
Hummingbird
Hummingbird Clearwing (Hemaris thysbe)
Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)
Slaty Skimmer Libellula incesta)
Snowberry Clearwing (Hemaris diffinis)
Spicebush Swallowtail (Papilio troilus) May 28
Variegated Fritillary (Euptoieta claudia)
Widow Skimmer (Libellula luctuosa) Jun 26
Zebra Swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus) Jul 1 and June 7

Flora

Buddleja davidii ‘Adokeep’ (Adonis blue Butterfly Bush)
Gladiolus ‘Purple Flora’ and ‘Espresso’
Juniperus chinensis ‘Blue Point’ (Blue Point Juniper)
Lantana camara (Common lantana)
Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)
Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’ (Black-eyed Susan)
Salvia greggii ‘Furman’s Red’ (Autumn Sage)
Salvia uliginosa ‘Blue Sky’ (Bog sage)
Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)

Lunchtime In The Garden

A couple of weeks ago the weather was unseasonably hot and dry. These are photos from May 27, 2019. Lots of butterflies were visiting the garden then, flitting from one flower to the next (especially popular was Verbena bonariensis—must be quite tasty.)  This is an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus). Females are dimorphic and can be yellow or nearly black. Blue spots along the hindwing indicate this yellow form is female.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

At some point this swallowtail apparently escaped a bad encounter, but managed to get back to lunch.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

At first I thought this next one was a female dark morph of Eastern Tiger Swallowtail—I noticed it nectaring on Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue.’ The coloring didn’t quite seem right though and I finally decided it is a Spicebush Swallowtail (Papilio troilus). The spicebush has blue markings, one of which is missing its orange spot.

Spicebush Swallowtail (Papilio troilus)

I followed the same butterfly around the garden. It stopped to enjoy the Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ before moving on to the verbena.

Spicebush Swallowtail (Papilio troilus)

Spicebush Swallowtail (Papilio troilus)

Verbena and penstemon are also popular with bees. Shown here is an Eastern Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa virginica) sampling the buffet.

Eastern Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa virginica)

Eastern Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa virginica)

Eastern Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa virginica)

Wordless Wednesday—Swallowtail On Lantana

Eastern tiger swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern tiger swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern tiger swallowtail (Papilio glaucous) nectaring on Lantana camara (Common lantana), photographed August 3, 2016.

Eastern tiger swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern tiger swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern tiger swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern tiger swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern tiger swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern tiger swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Butterflies and Glad Tidings

Throughout the day yesterday I glimpsed this male swallowtail nectaring at this large stand of Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena). The day before the garden had been filled with colorful American Goldfinch (Carduelis trusts) also enjoying this plant. The verbena has scattered itself all around the borders, so this year I have been able to share some with friends.

male Eastern tiger swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

male Eastern tiger swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

male Eastern tiger swallowtail (Papilio glaucous) enjoying Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)

male Eastern tiger swallowtail (Papilio glaucous) enjoying Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)

male Eastern tiger swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

male Eastern tiger swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

About a month ago I noticed a Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) fluttering around, just for a day, but I could never get a picture. Then again on Saturday another passed through. Still no picture of the butterfly, so I will share its host plant, Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant).

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)

This spectacular gladiolus below is from a package of blue shades mix planted last spring. The bulbs performed poorly last year, so seeing this royal spire each day thrills me. Although the tip of the stem is out of view, at this stage the gladiolus is half blooms and half buds.

After Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine) finished blooming here in the western border, I cut it back leaving this section looking particularly bare. Now that the weather has finally warmed up, everything should fill in quickly: Buddleia davidii ‘Adokeep’ (Butterfly Bush), Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp Sunflower) and Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox). I am still deciding how to replace the gardenia hedge that once lined this fence along the back.

Gladiolus

Gladiolus

This is the same flower after a rain a few days earlier, with the northwest corner in the background: ‘Carolina Sapphire’ (Arizona Cypress), Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox), Callicarpa americana (American beauty berry), Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood). In front of the planter Allium atropurpureum are preparing to  bloom.

Gladiolus

Gladiolus

Mid-September Monday

This cheerful Iceberg Rose did better than usual this year due to adequate rains throughout spring and summer. It has begun another round of blossoming recently.

Rosa 'Iceberg'

Rosa ‘Iceberg’

I would like to know what kind of little yellow spider this is hanging out on the Purple Coneflower. The front legs are positioned so it looks like it is trying to hide its face.

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

The Autumn Joy Sedum attracted this insect today (a wasp of some kind?) and a few bumble bees as well.

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

The Sedum’s flowers are deepening from light pink to a darker shade as they age.

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) (Stonecrop)

Meadow Sage has rebloomed now that night temperatures are cooler.

Meadow Sage ‘May Night’

Meadow Sage ‘May Night’

The annual, Angelonia Purple, was a good investment this spring. Last year I used it in the meditation circle for color and interest, but it grew too wide. I frequently had to cut it back to maintain clear passage through the labyrinth. This year I placed Angelonia as filler in a few portions of the border where it had plenty of room. It has bloomed and bloomed and bloomed all summer and will last until frost.

Angelonia 'Purple'

Angelonia ‘Purple’

Iberis Sempervirens (Candytuft) died back during the hot summer but is returning with a fresh flush of new growth.

Iberis Sempervirens (Candytuft)

Iberis Sempervirens (Candytuft)

I am excited about a new purchase this week, a grayish-blue glazed ceramic urn to replace the periwinkle jar I had kept in the southern border since spring. The periwinkle pot will be returned to its indoor setting to keep it safe from the elements.  The new urn required two strong men to carry to its current location so I did not get a chance to try it out in a lot of places before setting it down. For now I plan to leave it empty but may add an evergreen form to it later.

New Garden Urn

New Garden Urn

New Garden Urn

New Garden Urn

There have been numerous Eastern Tiger Swallowtails gracing the garden this summer, but few have been of this dark female form. Enjoying Lantana, this is the same butterfly in all the pictures, with color variations standing out depending on the aspect of the view.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)-5

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Sometime during Sunday night or early morning raindrops hit the window and I was awake enough to be grateful, knowing the garden had become very dry. The previous rain was on September 1 and since then, despite cooler temperatures at night, there have been some very hot days. Grass in the front yard has turned crispy brown and the River Birch has given up many leaves. The grass in the back yard where the garden is also has begun dying back in places.

By early afternoon when I had a chance to explore the garden there were no visible signs the rain had passed through, but perhaps the plants had already soaked up the nourishment by then.

Garden View From Southeast to Northwest

Garden View From Southeast to Northwest

An August Pause

Zinnia With Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

Zinnia With Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

A welcome drop in humidity cleared the haze from the sky and made the early morning air feel refreshingly cool.

We watched sections of the borders emerge from morning shadows as we lingered over coffee on the screened porch that overlooks the garden. Sunlight entering the garden spaces framed colorful vignettes. Wind chimes in the meditation circle repeatedly picked up the gentle breeze, echoing sweet tones.

Zinnias in the northwest corner continue to attract butterflies.

A white bearded Iris rebloomed this week bringing an unexpected treat.

Irish Eyes shine against the day’s deep blue morning sky.

Rudbeckia hirta 'Irish Eyes'

Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’

Swallowtail Acrobatics

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus), Buddleja davidii ‘Adokeep’ (Adonis blue Butterfly Bush)
I have not seen many butterflies this year so it was fun watching this Swallowtail spiral its way around the flower clusters of an appropriately named Butterfly bush.

This is an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus), a North American native butterfly species. I believe the Buddleja upon which today’s garden visitor is feasting is Buddleja davidii ‘Adokeep’ (Adonis blue butterfly bush).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Almanac

One weather source gives the temperature as 88°F (with heat index it feels like 101°F), but another reporting station shows 92°F and my money is on the 92°F. Last year the actual high was 99°F. Thunderstorms are predicted for later this evening. They have been regular occurrences lately.