We have a lovely, healthy robust Shrimp Plant in our 303 Garden, here in Eatonton, Georgia, some 80 miles east of Atlanta. Virginia gifted it to us. An occasional Ruby Throated Hummingbird visits it, once in a while. No butterflies have been seen on it. Ellen Honeycutt? Jim Rodgers? Deb Marsh? Katy Wilson Ross? Virginia C Linch?
By contrast, today, August 16th, we’ve seen here: Tiger Swallowtails. American Snout, Cloudless Sulphur, Gulf Fritillary, Spicebush Swallowtail, Sleepy Orange, Duskywings, Silver-Spotted Skipper, Giant Swallowtail, Several Species of Skippers (at least 6 species). Since butterflies come and go all day, my guess it that another 8 or more species have been here today, many when it was full sun and 97F.
Then there’s this Shrimp Plant, proudly producing large flowers, with zero butterflies seen? Curt Lehman?
Friends love Chevys. Others love Fords. Yuppies here and in New York love ‘Beemers’ (BMW’s), others love Nissans. Why?
My Christmas week trip to the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas did not yield Jeffrey Glassberg or Jane Hurwitz . . . but I did meet my first White Peacock and my first Malachite butterfly! (I too met Javier and Mike Rickard).
I was OK with meeting and shooting this Peacock you see here. I was very excited to meet and photograph this Malachite, which friends there shared was an especially handsome one.
“OK” with finding this Peacock. “Very excited” to shoot away with this Malachite.
Why do some butterflies (Malachite for me) so excite us, even years later, while others (Peacock for me) are met with moderate excitement?
This lush set of blooms was met in Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania. Our garden in Eatonton, Georgia now has them. We’ve had good success growing new plants from our own seed.
Without checking the internet, I think that these Butterflyweed milkweeds are native to most states east of the Mississippi River. I found them lush and strong in Lynx Prairie Reserve in southern Ohio and just as beautiful in that 100+ acre meadow at Ft. Indiantown Gap in central Pennsylvania. On them at Lynx Prairie were Edwards Hairstreaks, Coral Hairstreaks, Monarchs, Great Spangled Fritillaries and more. On them at Ft. Indiantown Gap were Regal Fritillaries (Wow!!), Monarchs, Coral Hairstreaks and more.
Search for them too early in June, and you won’t find their flowers in bloom. Search for them too late in July, and again, too late for blooms.
They are super terrific flowers for attracting butterflies, but . . . they only attract butterflies when those flowers are mature, lush and my own experience is that they mostly attract butterflies and moths and wasps from about 9:45 AM to 10:40 AM..
You can beg, cajole or threaten whatever, but that’ll not help. They bloom when they bloom, and when they are ripe and ready, they are easy to spot and fantastic! beacons for butterflies and more. They do occasionally support Monarch caterpillars, but seem to be a milkweed of last resort.
And, they do great in most gardens, preferring sunny, moist spots.
We spotted this moth on a mostly sunny morning at Ft. Federica, on St. Simons Island, on the Georgia coast. Me? I can recognize almost all butterflies, but moths, I don’t know most of them.
We spent almost a week in a vacation house in Townsend, Georgia. Most of our field work was was done at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, about 25 minutes from our beautiful rental home. That one day we drove to Ft. Federica, in part to see Virginia’s childhood home of St. Simons Island. I’d ask her where the best place to find and shoot butterflies on the island, and Virginia said that’d be this hundreds of years old English fort, Ft. Federica.
Id’ing moths is a very popular pursuit now, so I look forward to several of you helping us name this fascinating moth.
This Queen butterfly was photographed at the ‘Wall’ in Mission Texas. She was nectaring at a famous, much visited perennial garden set at the entrance wall to a popular development of homes.
The image of a pair of coupled Monarch butterflies (he easily seen here) was taken in the perennial gardens of the National Butterfly Center, also in Mission, Texas.
Both are Danaus butterflies, both relying on native milkweed plants as their hostplants.
Here in Eatonton, Georgia we have Monarchs visiting daily, to nectar on our natives and Mexican Sunflower, and to deposit their eggs on our several species of milkweed.
A visit from a Queen, here in central Georgia, is possible, but unlikely.
The 3rd image is a Danaus butterfly, the Plain Tiger, halfway around the world, in Mishmarot, Israel. A male I think.
Danaus butterflies have much in common, and then again, vary much.