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
06/24/2001 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!
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.
I did manage to photograph one (I think) Fiery Skipper this week.
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).
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.
Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’ attracts lots of bees and sometimes hummingbirds.
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.
A friend grew this dwarf Tiny Tim tomato from seed and shared a couple plants with us.
Lamb’s Ears are ready to be cut back and thinned but I hesitate when the bees are enjoying it.
Not bees, but observed yesterday, a Blue Dasher and a Snowberry Clearwing.
The coneflowers are looking strong this year. Most are pink but ‘White Swan’ seemed to grab most of my attention.
A butterfly joined the echinacea circle for the briefest time.
Here’s a fresh look at Echinacea ‘White Swan’, having one of its best years.
Hope you are enjoying plants and pollinators this weekend.