Friday, August 23, 2013

Measuring the Days in Butterflies

Like Rachel Carson, I am afraid that one season I will find myself in the midst of a silent spring..or a silent summer, and so each winged creature is noted with pleasure..An imperfect and unfinished season of butterfly observations is presented here.. Last year's irruption of Painted Ladies has not reoccured....

Cabbage Whites have been plentiful, and whilst I used to regard them with disdain, their ethereal color and random playfullness has endeared them to me..We might as well appreciate what remains..

On Dittany (False Oregano) Origanum dictamnus, a native plant volunteer

Pieris rapae on Cone Flower (Echinacea purpaea), native cultivar

Skippers (Hesperiidae) have also been well represented and challenging to identify..If you think I have goofed, please let me know..In order of appearence..

Dreamy Duskywing, (Erynnis icelus) an early spring woodland skipper

Delaware Skipper (Anatrytone logan) in a dream world of Catchfly (Silene armeria), non-native

This may be a Peck's Skipper (Polites peckius)
On Ox-Eye Daisy (leucanthemum vulgare), non-native

Clear-Wing and Zabulon Skippers on Red Clover (Trifolium pratense) non-native.

Horace's Duskywing, (Erynnis horatius) another Open-Wing Skipper.

Silver Spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus) on Bull Thistle
(cirisium vulgarum)

 Black Swallowtails arrived early in my garden  and availed themselves of the Bronze Fennel, (Foeniculum vulgare 'purpureum') a larval host, along with other members of the family Umbelliferae, such as parsely or carrots..... At one point there were 20 Black Swallowtail Cats on three fennel plants...Black Swallowtail Caterpillars molt and appear in different "instars". They disappear in their final instar.  I used to think that the birds had eaten them..(and maybe some are eaten) but then I learned that they wander off a long way to pupate..and no, I have never seen a pupa..even tho'I have looked..I need a tiny web cam..or Sherlock Holmes..

A Black Swallowtail egg.. I tried to catch every stage, 
but they were too sly for me.

Third Instar, here now, missed the early rush..
Fennel is setting seed.

Fourth Instar on Parsley, with a final instar, in hiding
..earlier in season.
Final Instar, one of twenty,
ready for disappearing act.

What the fuss was all about..(Papilio polyxenes)
And a close relative, Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)
on Zinnia elegans. Zinnas are native to Mexico.

Pretty as a picture
on Bee Balm (Monarda), native cultivar

On top of the world!
An American Painted Lady (two large, submarginal eyespots)
(Vanessa virginiensis), subgenus Cynthia..ha, ha..that's me!

All that flies is not butter!

My favorite garden visitor so far this year!
 Hummingbird Clear Wing Moth
(Hemaris thysbe)

The Red-Spotted Purples is a forest butterfly, also found in wooded suburban areas..hence in my yard... They prefer to  feed on tree sap, fermenting fruit or dung..and only occasionally feed from flower nectar. That explains why I have never seen one on a flower. Some folks put out fruit feeders for these pretties..maybe next year...
Limentis arthemis

See my red spots?

A tattered Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos)
on Lance Leaved Coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata) Native.

                                                             Finally, some tiny beauties
Eastern Tailed Blue (Everes comyntas), after  a rain.

Little Copper (Lycaena phlaeas) on Daisy Fleabane (Erigeron annuus), native.

I have seen only one the New York Botanical Garden native plant installation..that despite having several milkweed species in my garden..which usually sport monarch caterpillars...Other butterflies seen (and identified) but not recorded here..Common Wood Nymph (Cercyonis pegala) and Alfalfa Butterfly (Colias eurytheme)

Now I'll just hang out and see what else flies by

I have measured my life out in coffee spoons~ T.S. Elliot The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock  ..but butterflies are a better measure!