Posts Tagged ‘butterflies’

Yum Yum

I wrote this blog earlier and didn’t get it posted. I’d rather post it now instead of waiting until next summer.

This is one of my favorite times of the year, when the fruit rots when I put it out for the butterflies. Some summers the butterfly numbers are low, and others they’re just the opposite.

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The one above is a question mark. You can tell by the small gold question mark on the underside of its hindwing.

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Tawny emperor (a ragged one)

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The red admiral butterfly has visited the rotting fruit. It didn’t pose for a picture, so I had to find one in my picture files.

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Red spotted purple

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Most are hackberry butterflies.

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Five tawny emperors, one viceroy (orange one that resembles a monarch butterfly), and a red spotted purple. There’s usually butterflies on the fruit for several hours, unless it’s raining.

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Their numbers continued to increase until now when only  10 – 15 visit a day

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Dragonflies in the Yard

So far the butterflies are almost nonexistent this summer. I could probably count all I’ve seen on one hand.

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So, I’ve switched to dragonflies instead. Their numbers are relatively low. At least they’re in the yard.

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Male widow skimmer

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This is another widow skimmer. It’s fresher than the one above. This was the only angle it cooperated for.

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Female widow skimmer

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Halloween pennant — it’s the first I’ve seen this summer.

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I have yet to identify the dragonfly above and the one below.

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It’s like I’ve said before, I don’t need a name to enjoy the find.

Remaining Bloomers

Summer eased into fall, and only a few flowers still bloom.

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Flowering tobacco (Nicotiana sylvestris)

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is a favorite of the tobacco hornworm.

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Heath asters (Symphyotrichum ericoides)

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attract late flying butterflies.

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Wild Indian strawberry  (mock strawberry)

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has red fruits that aren’t juicy and lack flavor.

The wild strawberry, (Fragaria virginiana) has a white fruit that’s said to be delicious. I haven’t seen it growing here in southern Illinois.

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Yellow woodsorrel (Oxalis stricta)

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Summer farewell aster with an immature assassin bug.

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A few roses still bloom on Grandfather’s Rose. It was given to my grandmother by my great grandfather, when my mother was born … in 1929.

Nature offers plenty to enjoy year round for those interested.

Asters And No Butterflies

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You can tell butterfly numbers are low when there are no butterflies on the summer farewell asters.

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 Their numbers have been low all summer, and I’m not sure why.

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The asters grow to six or more feet tall.

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One summer they were in full bloom when the monarch butterflies were migrating south. It was so dramatic, I just couldn’t stay in the house. There would be up to 50 or more monarch fluttering around the asters at any one time!

Pear Tree Remants

A strong wind blew all night and all day.

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I had just picked up all the fallen branches out of this dead pear tree yesterday. Today’s wind broke off  branches, limbs and even one of the trunks.

This tree was one of my favorites because of all the butterflies the rotting pears attracted.

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Lichens growing on the tree attract my attention now. I decided to just enjoy and not try to identify them.

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The pears rotting and their attracting butterflies was one of the highlights of summer. All the butterflies above are hackberry butterflies, except the top one which is a question mark.

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Red spotted purple on the left and a viceroy on the right. Viceroys have an extra black band on their hindwing that the monarch lacks.

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Common buckeye

The pears also attracted bees, wasps, night flying moths and ants to name a few.

So, obviously, I miss the pear tree being alive.

Now that I’m starting to learn lichens, I hope the tree stands for many more years.

Basking Butterflies

The strong Arctic blast came through southern Illinois before midnight last night. The sun does shine. A northwest wind, gusting to 25, has the windchill at -22.  I didn’t post this blog the end of October when I wrote it. For obvious reasons, today seemed the right day for posting it.

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A hard frost changed our yard considerably last night.

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Butterfly numbers were down to two this afternoon. The orange sulphur spent its time going from one sunny spot to another and basking in the sun.

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It stayed near the barn where the radiant heat added to that of the direct sunlight. The butterfly also angled its body to receive maximum heat. This angled position is called lateral basking.

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The other butterfly, a painted lady, preferred the white asters where it basked with its wings open. This position is called dorsal basking.

I sit here looking out the picture window at the backyard, wondering where the warm weather went and if I might see anymore butterflies before winter.

What are the Odds!

I wonder what the odds are of walking around the weedpatch,

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  seeing a silvery checkerspot,

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and turning the corner and finding a pearl cresent?

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Silvery checkerspots are double-brooded, and the early ones lay their eggs on winged crownbeard.

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Pearl crescents lay their eggs on asters.

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I’m sure there’s plenty of asters growing in my weed patch for the pearl crescents. 

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Winged crownbeard and wingstem are “cousins. ” The crownbeard blooms later in the summer.

 

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