Tag Archives: Ocola Skipper (Panoquina ocola)

Butterfly Journal For 10/15/2021 – 10/21/2021

Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebis sennae)

Since my last Butterfly Journal report I recorded 4 observations (4 species), bringing the 2021 annual butterfly total for my garden to 583 (30 species).

Butterfly Sightings 10/15/2021 –  10/21/2021

10/15/2021 Cloudless Sulphur – Phoebis sennae 1
10/15/2021 Ocola Skipper – Panoquina ocola 1
10/16/2021 Pearl Crescent – Phyciodes tharos 1
10/21/2021 Monarch – Danaus plexippus 1

None of the butterflies stayed around long enough for more than quick snapshots. With the Pearl Crescent the time was only enough to recognize and record its presence with an obscure image.

Last weekend there were promises and some reports of rain throughout the region but nothing more here than a brief splash. Though there are still plenty of flowers on the Lantana camara (Common lantana), skippers have all but disappeared from their favorite nectar source in my garden.

Ocola Skipper (Panoquina ocola)

In mid-October despite their now deeply mildewed foliage, zinnias continue to provide a resounding zing of color to the borders. I’ve been in no hurry to clear them, preferring to enjoy for myself the pops of pink, orange and yellow that dominated this year’s crop, knowing too butterflies might enjoy them. Yesterday I embodied an old clichéd phrase: my heart soared when I spotted a fresh female monarch nectaring on the zinnias.

Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) -female

Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) -female

Occasional sightings are possible into next month but butterfly season here is coming to a close.

Butterfly Journal For 9/25/2021 – 9/30/2021

September 27, 2021 Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

Since my last report I recorded 43 observations of 10 species, bringing the 2021 annual butterfly total in my garden to 548 (29 total species).  There has been no more rain.

Butterfly Sightings 9/25/2021 –  9/30/2021
09/25/2021 Red-banded Hairstreak – Calycopis cecrops 1
09/25/2021 Cloudless Sulphur – Phoebis sennae 1
09/25/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 1
09/26/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 1
09/26/2021 Sleepy Orange – Abaeis nicippe 1
09/26/2021 Monarch – Danaus plexippus 1
09/26/2021 Cloudless Sulphur – Phoebis sennae 1
09/27/2021 Cloudless Sulphur – Phoebis sennae 1
09/27/2021 Monarch – Danaus plexippus 1
09/27/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 6
09/27/2021 Pearl Crescent – Phyciodes tharos 1
09/27/2021 American Lady – Vanessa virginiensis 1
09/27/2021 Ocola Skipper – Panoquina ocola 1
09/28/2021 Monarch – Danaus plexippus 1
09/28/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 4
09/28/2021 American Lady – Vanessa virginiensis 1
09/28/2021 Ocola Skipper – Panoquina ocola 1
09/28/2021 Red-banded Hairstreak – Calycopis cecrops 1
09/28/2021 Cloudless Sulphur – Phoebis sennae 1
09/29/2021 Eastern Tailed-Blue – Cupido comyntas 1
09/29/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 5
09/29/2021 Red-banded Hairstreak – Calycopis cecrops 1
09/30/2021 Fiery Skipper – Hylephila phyleus 6
09/30/2021 Red-banded Hairstreak – Calycopis cecrops 1
09/30/2021 Common Buckeye – Junonia coenia 1
09/30/2021 Ocola Skipper – Panoquina ocola 1

I had no first-of-life or first-of-year sightings, but did enjoy seeing a few species that had not been around for a while. Yesterday saw the return of the Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia), the first since August 11. They were frequently seen around the garden in June and July. This one was hanging out among dahlias. It flew off as soon as I approached so I managed only a fuzzy, not-worth-sharing photo.

Last reporting period I had noted a Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos) and this week saw one more. It was one of the first species seen in the garden this year, back in April 10, 2021. While I have been recording butterfly sightings I have only scratched the surface in learning about the individual species and their habits.

September 27, 2021 Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos)

American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis) was back this week also after being absent since August 10, 2021. As colorful and welcome as it was, I admit to hoping it was going to be a Painted Lady, which has been completely absent from my garden since last year, August 2, 2020. From following reports of other butterfly watchers I understand numbers for Painted Lady species is down across the state. I captured the American Lady busily nectaring on Common Lantana.

September 27, 2021 American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis)

Fiery Skipper still contributes to padding my number of total butterfly observations–they are easily observed in multiples. Anecdotally their numbers seem way down this year.

September 26, 2021 Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)

I continue to see a few Ocola Skipper (Panoquina ocola) here and there. This is another species other people note as absent from their reports.

September 27, 2021 Ocola Skipper (Panoquina ocola)

On Wednesday an Eastern Tailed-Blue (Cupido comyntas) followed me inside onto the porch. It was in no mood for pictures. Though I left the door open it spent the next half-hour frantically trying to escape the screen. Eventually it found its way to freedom. I had last recorded seeing this species three times in June of this year.

September 29, 2021 Eastern Tailed-Blue (Cupido comyntas)

The other species seen this reporting phase are the most photogenic (or at least the most cooperative in allowing me to photograph them). I saw 4 Red-banded Hairstreak, 4 Cloudless Sulphur, 3 Monarch and 1 Sleepy Orange. I will close by sharing with you the graceful beauty of these creatures, but first here are several other visitors to the garden.

Suddenly there are lots of birds (which are too quick for my camera) and many grasshoppers.

September 27, 2021 Differential Grasshopper (Melanoplus differentialis)

Perhaps this Carolina anole, sunning on a gazing ball underneath the zinnias, is hoping for supper.

September 27, 2021 Carolina anole (Anolis carolinensis)

Hummingbird Clearwings have been frequently seen this summer. The other day more than once this moth bumped the monarch out of its way. I’ve noticed carpenter bees feeding on lantana to be similarly aggressive lately.

September 28, 2021 Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) and Hummingbird Clearwing (Hemaris thysbe)

The male monarch was pristinely fresh.

September 27, 2021 Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

September 27, 2021 butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

Lantana is universally popular as a nectaring source. The one Sleepy Orange I saw during this reporting period blended in with the multi-colored flower clusters pretty well.

September 26, 2021 Sleepy Orange (Abaeis nicippe)

September 26, 2021 Sleepy Orange (Abaeis nicippe)

For a few days I enjoyed seeing a Cloudless Sulphur in the yard, like this one intently feeding on zinnias.

September 25, 2021 Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebis sennae)

None of my single-form dahlias survived the rabbits and drought this summer, but there have been a few butterflies lured to the doubles. Dahlia ‘Break Out’ opened recently. Whether this Red-banded Hairstreak was able to nectar here I’m not sure.

September 25, 2021 Red-banded Hairstreak (Calycopis cecrops)

Happy Butterflying or enjoying nature in any way you can.

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 8/1/2021- 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.

Far Edge of July

‘Pride of Gibraltar’ Hummingbird Cerinthe

Reaching the end of July is unsettling—summer, slipping by.

The summer garden has had its disappointments. Hot and dry weather and grazing rabbits have left their mark. This week, at least, a couple of thunderstorms offered some relief from record-setting heat (Hurricane Isaias likely will add rain as well. I hope everyone along the U.S. East Coast will stay safe).  Despite the shortcomings of this season there are always discoveries in the garden to brighten one’s day.

This is my first time growing cerinthe. One plant began flowering this week.  After admiring it in others’ Monday vases, I decide to try it.  From a packet of seeds, I ended up with just half a dozen plants, which actually I had expected to have purple flowers and foliage. Rabbits nibbled away for a while but lately have left them alone.

‘Pride of Gibraltar’ Hummingbird Cerinthe

‘Pride of Gibraltar’ Hummingbird Cerinthe

This is the sole surviving plant from a packet of alyssum. Bad bunnies!

Alyssum

The garden has a lot of dragonflies. I have tentatively identified this as Bar-winged Skimmer.

Bar-winged Skimmer (Libellula axilena)

This young, tiny anole found cover quickly when I tried for a better photo.

Carolina anole (Anolis carolinensis) on Dahlia ‘David Howard’

Cleome flower heads seem to float above the meditation circle.

Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower)

Dahlia ‘David Howard’ has proved to be my most reliable dahlia. It has great form and color.

Dahlia ‘David Howard’

Dahlia sp.

I spotted Easter Tiger Swallowtails multiple times this week but they did not linger long. This one was tempted by the saliva.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) On Salvia uliginosa ‘Blue Sky’ (Bog sage)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) On Salvia uliginosa ‘Blue Sky’ (Bog sage)

Coneflowers continue to brighten the garden. This one volunteered in the meditation circle.

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)

With a name like August Beauty one might hope this gardenia will rebloom soon. This week three fresh flowers appeared.

Gardenia jasminoides ‘August Beauty’

I do not remember planting this gladiolus but was happy to have the companionship.

Gladiolus

I have not seen many Horace’s Duskywings this year. I believe this one is my second—dining on a spent verbena bonariensis.

Horace’s Duskywing (Erynnis horatius)

Crepe myrtles are the prettiest in years in my neighborhood. Blooms are mostly out of reach.

Lagerstroemia (crape myrtle)

Ocolas are plentiful around the lantana. This one is particularly worn.

Ocola Skipper (Panoquina ocola) on Lantana camara (Common lantana)

Rabbits nibbled away as the rudbeckia emerged. The plants finally pushed upwards and bloomed under protection of a rabbit spray made from concentrated botanical oils, a gift from a neighbor.

Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’ (Black-eyed Susan)

At one time I planned a red border, but never followed through after drought set in that year. I like this red salvia up close but it is not very showy from afar. Hummingbirds do find it but seem to prefer the Black and Blue salvia.

Salvia greggii ‘Furman’s Red’ (Autumn Sage)

This Silver-spotted Skipper found a sweet delicacy, Lathyrus latifolius (Everlasting sweet pea).

Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus)

Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy the weekend.

Wordless Wednesday – Garden Benefits

Rudbeckia laciniata (Green-Headed Coneflower)

Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)

Ocola Skipper (Panoquina ocola)

Junonia coenia (common buckeye)

Zebra Swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus)

Zebra Swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus)

Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus)