Labor Day weekend is the unofficial end to summer and a chance for many of us to slow down, relax, and enjoy a weekday off work or a long weekend. While rambling with my dogs this morning, I saw two butterflies in their peaceful pursuit of food in late summer blooms. It is challenging to photograph insects with an iPhone (and two dogs on leashes) so I just enjoyed watching their quiet journeys and was able to reflect on the several times I have seen butterflies this summer. Once, at the end of July, I noticed quite a bit of insect activity around a “butterfly bush” and some nearby cone flowers at the entrance to a building on Old Hook Rd. It was mesmerizing- hot sun, som busy buzzing honey bees, and beautiful butterflies…I stopped to watch for a few minutes and was able to take a few pictures with the iPhone when these butterflies – and the most amazing moth I have ever seen – landed, or slowed down, to feed. I knew that the large yellow butterflies are Tiger Swallowtails, but had no idea what the others were. I reached out to Pat and Clay Sutton (on Facebook) for help >> many thanks Pat for identifying them for me!
Her notes: YES the large yellow butterflies are Tiger Swallowtails (though you can’t be sure if they’re males of females unless you can see the top of the hindwing. The one showing that is a female with all the blue in the trailing edge of the hindwing — where males show lots of black (& no blue) in the trailing edge).
The dark butterfly is one of the skippers, a Horace’s Duskywing.
The one that is a poor photo where you can’t really see much of the critter looks like a Hummingbird Clearwing. You might like to get a better photo of that one so you can really get people jazzed. I wrote a post about them that you could link to: http://nativeplantwildlifegarden.com/ive-just-seen-a-baby-hummingbird/
….GREAT to get people thinking to plant NATIVES for butterflies and NOT JUST Butterfly Bush which is native to China and ONLY provides nectar. All the butterflies and moths coming to it need to search far and wide for the native plants they need for egg laying to create the next generation.
Also look at the North American Butterfly site for more information about the 139 species of butterflies found in New Jersey (from March – October) and what to plant for a butterfly garden. http://www.nababutterfly.com/NABA%20Butterfly%20Garden%20and%20Habitat%20Program/guide_nynnj.html
“The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough” Quote from Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore