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 .