Sunday, August 5, 2007

A Butterfly Flutters By

The Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa) is in bloom and has been for a few weeks. Up to that point, I'd only seen the occasional Monarch and worried that they'd passed us by this year. But this week, they're back en force. Just like last year, there isn't a day where you can't go out to Max's Garden and see one flitting about. Sometimes there are two.

As I mentioned before, our garden is a certified Monarch Waystation and we grow a couple of different kinds of Asclepias and other butterfly magnets to attract Monarchs and any other butterflies that care to stop for a sip of nectar.

We love it when they stay and raise a family here, too, which is just what Monarchs and Swallowtails did last year. So far, I've not detected any eggs, chrysalis, or caterpillars - just the butterflies.

Oh wait. We have had an abundance of one certain caterpillar. TheTomato Hornworm (Manduca quinquemaculata), which if allowed to remain, turns into the Five-Spotted Hawk Moth. They're not on our tomatoes (not yet, anyway), but they're devouring the leaves of the 'Dropmore Scarlet' honeysuckle! I've picked off at least a dozen of these squishy, plump green leaf hogs and tossed them into the corn field behind the garden. Romie seems to think they won't find their way back to the garden, but I wouldn't bet on it.

One of the ones I found was no more than a half-inch long. I can't believe I even saw it. The larger ones can be hard enough to see, due to their color being so close to that of the foliage they're eating.

I saw a Viceroy (Limenitis archippus) butterfly this week that was so tattered I wondered how it even flew, but it seemed to have no problem.

Compare that one to a perfect Monarch (Danaus plexippus) that showed up a couple of days later ...

In addition to the Cabbage White, Tiger Swallowtail, Red Admiral, and numerous other unidentified species, we've had lots of Spicebush Swallowtails, too.

Just a couple of weeks ago, I spied this Eastern Comma.

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Anonymous said...

What amazing photography of these beautiful butterflies. I always feel sorry for the battered looking butterflies.
Sara from farmingfriends

kate smudges said...

Those hornworms are voracious little creatures. It is good you saw them.

Your butterfly weed is a brilliant colour. I now have two different sorts in my garden, but the butterflies have been scarce this year.

The Eastern Comma is striking - the poor Viceroy looks as if it has seen better days!

Happy Sunday!

Ruth Welter said...

What beautiful butterfly photos. I've enjoyed my visit.

MrBrownThumb said...

Nice photos you got here. I too have wondered how they manage to get around with tattered wings. You have to admire their tenacity and desire to forge on.

Aiyana said...

Lovely photos. You have quite an assortment of butterflies to photograph.

Anonymous said...

I don't know why, but that photo of the horn worm on the honeysuckle reminds me of Priscilla Queen of the Desert. Great pictures!

Naturegirl said...

AH...this post made my heart sing!!
All those gorgeous butterflies!!!
Oh my that poor tattered one I agree how did it fly!!
You are so generous with your comments when you stop by my blog..thank you! hugs NG

Bob said...

What great shots of the butterflies and esclepia, Your very lucky to have so many types in your garden. i have many fond memories of monachs while growing up in calif.

all the best, BOB

Connie said...

Great photos! I posted a photo of a battered butterfly recently, too. It makes you wonder how they get in that condition...guess it's a rough life out there as a butterfly. :-)

joey said...

What a 'welcoming oasis' you have for butterflies. Lovely photos.

I see from your profile that you are a hygienist. Me too (retired). Still practicing?

Anonymous said...

It was fun to find out about all these butterflies. You took beautiful photos of them. Thank you for sharing them.

Alyssa said...

Very enjoyable seeing and reading about the butterflies you are so lucky to see. We see very few butterflies here now - it's very sad.

(The post about the unknown moth is where you left the mysterious JPEG for a beetle you couldn't identify.)

Kylee Baumle said...

joey, yes, I am a hygienist. I worked steadily for 27 years, then retired, too. For the last two years, I've worked half a day a week, every week. It supports my gardening habit! LOL!

alyssa, now I know. I'd forgotten that I posted that link. It cut it off, didn't it? I'll try again, and I'll post it in two lines, so maybe it won't truncate it.

Just copy and paste one after the other with no spaces, then you should be able to see it.

Thanks for your help!

Laurie and Chris said...

Your butterfly pictures are so cool!!!

Unknown said...

Awesome photos and lovely writing as always. I love that you're a registered waystation for monarchs--we aren't, yet, but I think I'll do this if they can register us Canuck butterfly helpers.
I threw LOTS of milkweed seed around last fall, and gave pods of it to a nursery operator friend, who germinated it and gave away milkweed seedlings to people who understand and appreciate the need for milkweeds if we're gonna have monarchs.

Iowa Gardening Woman said...

Beautiful photos, I have just begun seeing Monarchs in my garden in full force but they rarely are on the butterfly weed they seem to prefer my herb bed.

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