April 14, 2006
New blog this year!
This will be my last post at this blog - I installed a Word Press blog on this site to take the place of this one. I will leave this old blog up though, so the old posts will be here. The new blog is at: http://www.butterflygardeningandconservation.com/wpblog/
On the new one you can comment - and you don't even have to register to do it! The comments are moderated though, but I will approve them as quickly as I can!
August 19, 2005
Six Monarchs, 2 Painted Ladies and a Tiger Swallowtail!
This morning right before 9 AM, I went outside and saw 6 Monarchs, 2 Painted Ladies and a Tiger Swallowtail all nectaring in my garden! That's a lot for around here! Then just a little while later I saw a Buckeye and a Cloudless Sulfur too - pretty much at the same time!
And of course, lots of skippers were around too!
I noticed the Painted Ladies were all on the Rudbeckia laciniata (sp?) - which is around 6-8 feet tall now! I see them on it a lot.
Almost all of my Variegated Fritillaries are pupating now - just two more to go! And this morning one of them emerged from its chrysalis too! I didn't have time to get any pictures of it though.
Right before dark tonight I went outside and watch the hummingbird fight for a while. That's always entertaining!
August 07, 2005
Butterflies and eggs!
Lots of butterflies around this year. Not sure if it is because the weather is hot and dry or more over time are coming to my garden.
Friday (8/5) at one time there was a Pipevine Swallowtail, a Monarch, a Tiger Swallowtail and an unidentified dark Swallowtail all in the garden at the same time. At one point the Monarch, Tiger and unidentified one all started flying around in circles around each other - it only lasted a few seconds but it was beautiful and peaceful while it lasted.
A little later yet another Tiger Swallowtail was nectaring in the same area. They were pretty much all nectaring on either my white butterfly bush or on zinnias.
Today has been good too. Just a few minutes ago I saw a Monarch, a Buckeye and a Painted Lady all out there at the same time. The Monarch and Buckeye were on the butterfly bush and the Painted Lady was on the zinnias, although the Monarch and Painted Lady were also flying all over earlier.
And then - I found 3 eggs on one of my Hop Trees. I'm guessing they are Giant rather than Tiger Swallowtail eggs, although I didn't find any on my Prickly Ash. Interesting too, the eggs were all laid on some areas of new growth on the plant. The leaves of Hop Trees seem to get diseased or damaged over time and become coarse and discolored, but these newer leaves were not like that.
I also found a caterpillar that looks just like a Grey Hairstreak on the railing of our deck. I can't figure out how in the world it got there. No host plants that I know of for it there. I took a cutting of Partridge Pea, which I know Grey Hairstreaks like and put it on it and it seems to be feeding. Possibly other hairstreaks and blues have caterpillars that look similar, but I don't know as I have never raised any others. It is too small to be ready to pupate if it is Grey Hairstreak too. I'll keep it and see what it is.
There are also many other smaller butterflies around too, but they are hard to get close enough to, to see what they are. I suspect many of the smaller ones and E. Tailed Blues. And of course I see some sulfurs and whites now and then too, but I am not good yet at indentifying them either.
The Variegated Fritillaries are doing great, I think they may be close to pupating .
August 03, 2005
The Tigers are invading!
Lots of Tiger Swallowtails lately!
And lots of catching up to do!
On Sunday, in my garden, at one point there were two different black form Tiger Swallowtails flying and around and nectaring. And later, if I remember right, later there was a yellow form female also. Monday, too I saw a couple black form Tigers. Still no eggs though on any of the host plants for them.
Tuesday my mom had surgery so I was not around a lot. Saw some butterflies when I got home though.
Today, 8/3 - lots more more butterflies around again! At one point today there were 4 different species of large butterflies all flying around at the same time! A dark form Tiger, a Pipevine Swallowtail, a Monarch and just briefly a Giant Swallowtail. This was the firsts Giant I've seen this year. None appear to have laid any eggs. Although the Monarch may have. Then later a male Tiger hung around for a while too. Most were nectaring on my white butterfly bush and on some zinnias.
The Variegated Fritillaries are doing great! They are two weeks old today! Not pupating yet though, but they seem healthy.
July 17, 2005
I found fritillary eggs!
A fritillary was flying around the yard today and laid a bunch of eggs all over the violets we have growing!
It was my husband who first saw it and told me he saw a butterfly that didn't look like one we see a lot. So I went out and looked. I could tell it was some type of fritillary right away. At first I thought it might have been a Meadow Fritillary though. It was too small to be a Great Spangled Fritillary. I thought it seemed oranger than a Variegated Fritillary I had seen a couple of years ago, and I was under the impression they mostly just used passion vine and not violets. However, after asking around and checking my butterfly books I now think that it was a Variegated Fritillary. Which is good, because they should be easier to raise than the other kinds.
All together I collected over 20 eggs. I hope they are ok and I don't have any problems raising them.
I noticed that she mostly laid the eggs on really small, newer leaves rather than bigger older ones. Although a few were on bigger, older leaves. Also, most were laid on the underside of the leaves, but some were on the top of the leaves. Mostly it was the bigger, older leaves that she laid the eggs on top of.
She hung around the yard for a long time too! Around an hour or more I think. We have lots of violets growing and lots of nectar sources, which she stopped at a few times too. I think she was happy in our yard! At least as much as a butterfly might or might not be able to be happy!
I took a few picturer, but I don't know if any of them will be ok - she didn't sit still long enough to be able to get any good pictures.
Also, not butterfly related, we saw the female duck that lives in the creek behind our house - and see had 7 babies ducks with her!!!
July 01, 2005
American Ladies everywhere!
Well, not everywhere exactly. But today I saw two different American Lady butterflies around my garden! One, the bigger of the two, I've seen off and on over the past 3 days. The other is smaller and not as brightly colored.
I've tried and tried to get a good picture of one of them from the side to put on my site, but they don't seem to like to be photographed! Today I was able to get one picture, but I don't know how it will turn out.
The bigger one it turns out is a female also. It was trying to lay eggs, although I didn't see any. Either I just didn't see any, it was only laying them selectively, it hasn't mated yet, or it ran out, I guess.
So I just spent a half an hour out in the heat trying to get a picture! And fighting Japanese beetles at the same time. Well, time to cool off and try again later!
Is the abundance of American Ladies due to the 4th of July weekend? I don't think so! But you never know!
June 20, 2005
Zebras and Spicebushes!
Sat., the 18th I found 3 Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillars on my spicebushes, actually 4, but something had attacked one and it was dying.
Then the next morning, sun the 19th, I found a Spicebush Swallowtail egg too! First I've ever seen a egg of theirs in my garden, usually I just see the caterpillars first. I don't have a picture of a Spicebush egg yet on my site either. I took some pictures, hopefully they will turn out ok.
Then - I saw a Zebra Swallowtail nectaring in my garden! I've hardly ever seen those around our yard at all! Unfortunately I couldn't get a picture of it though, it flew away too fast. Hopefully it will be back sometime so I can get a picture of it too, since I don't have a Zebra Swallowtail picture at all either.
The past week or so, including today, I have seen a really large Great Spangled Fritillary flying around, but it also won't sit still long enough for me to get a picture of it!
The plants in the garden are doing generally well. The purple coneflowers in my main garden area are not doing too well though, a couple look diseased or something and they are none as tall as they should be.
I have lots of pages to add to this site too, especially for plants, but for butterflies too. Hopefully I will have the time soon!
May 31, 2005
Second set of Monarch eggs!
Yesterday a Monarch was hanging around, nectaring on purple Milkweed (another plant I need a page for!) and laying eggs everywhere. That's the second set this year. Which is really good for me, I don't usually even see any Monarch eggs in my garden until late July or August - and now this is the second set already!
I have been bad about updating this again lately though. I've seen a few butterflies the past couple weeks and I meant to record it here so I would have an accurate record of my first sightings of various species each year - but I didn't. What I have seen the past couple of weeks for the first time is a Hackberry, Painted Lady and a Silver Spotted Skipper. The Painted Lady was sunning itself and nectaring on Scabiosa. Not that it had that many choices, not much is blooming yet. The butterfly bushes are close though!
I have seen a number of white and sulfurs too, that I couldn't identify. And occasionally, a Tiger Swallowtail.
No other eggs, except I suspect I had some other Black Swallowtail eggs laid at some point, as once I saw a nearly full grown caterpillar and a really small one at the same time, there must have been some other eggs laid since those that I reported here.
May 13, 2005
weather slowly getting better
The weather has been getting better here. Last Sunday, 5/8 I saw a Red Admiral resting near by false nettle patch. I was out of town a lot this week though. I did see a Tiger Swallowtail fly past today, but it is supposed to start raining here soon.
update - it never did rain - didn't see any more butterflies though. oh wait, one of my black swallowtails that was overwintering emerged today and flew away, couldn't see if it was male or female.
May 07, 2005
Is summer here for real yet?
It has been rainy and cool and cloudy the past couple of weeks, so no butterflies. But, it now has started warming up again. So hopefully more butterflies will be around soon. I did see a Tiger Swallowtail flying around in the garden today though!
The Monarch caterpillars from the female who laid some eggs here a while back are around the second instar stage. There's bunch of them too!
I didn't look around too much for the Black Swallowtail caterpillars yet, but I did see one.
There may be one or more American Lady caterpillars too, its hard to say though since the make nests and are hidden in them, but it looks like there could be some small nests there.
-- Just saw the first hummingbird at our feeder for this year!
April 17, 2005
First Monarch 2005
Sunday April 17, I saw a Monarch flying around and laying eggs. This is the earliest I've even seen one in my garden! Unfortunately the milkweed plants have not grow very much yet, they are only barely coming up out of the ground. She laid a bunch of eggs anyway though, several to a plant that was just barely there even.
It's early, but did she lay so many on plants that can't possibly support that many caterpillars because she couldn't find any other milkweed growing near by? (Since most people tend to have their yards filled with non-native grasses and other non-native plants?) Or was it simply that it is just too early?
I also saw a Tiger Swallowtail fly through the yard. I think it is the earliest I've seen one of these too.
I'm guessing these early (for my anyway) sightings are due to it being warmer and drier here than what it has been for the last 2-3 years (at least).
April 16, 2005
First Black Swallowtail 2005
On Saturday I opened up the back door and saw a dark colored butterfly that I thought may have been a swallowtail. I wasn't able to see it close enough to say for certain.
But later, I went and checked my parsley plants - and guess what? There were Black Swallowtail eggs there!
She only laid eggs on the plants in front of out house though, that gets morning light. I have some more plants in the back, but couldn't find any eggs on those. It seems that last year the Black Swallowtails seemed to like the plants in front of the house better too.
April 15, 2005
First American Lady 2005
I've already been bad about not updating this blog this year! I'm even having to write some back entries for butterfly sightings from a few days ago!
Anyway, on Friday, April 15, I saw an American Lady butterfly flying around my garden and laying eggs! Only the second year I've even seen this species in my garden! And I don't even have as many host plants for it this year. Apparently a couple of the plants I was growing for it are biennials and didn't come back up this year. And my pussytoes (which I don't have a page up for yet) are not growing as well this year. But she didn't seem to care and laid some eggs anyway.
I need to check and how many flights Vanessa virginiensis has each year in this area. I wonder if I will have any more laying eggs or not this year? Last year I only noticed eggs and caterpillars once, early in the spring then too.
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