Do Butterflies Commute?

Today’s special visitor was a very big Black Form Female Tiger Swallowtail butterfly. We posted some pics on Facebook. I commented that there’s a good chance that she came from Virginia’s Briar Patch Habitat, just one mile from our native plants garden. Came to partake of our Bottlebrush Buckeye bush, now in splendid full bloom. It may well be that the super fresh Giant Swallowtail also flew to us from the Briar Patch.

Virginia C Linch posted a Comment to my Facebook post, and it got me to thinking.

If butterflies are especially attuned to aromatic emissions from active flowers, what is the working range that their sensory organs can effectively track? In other words, did our 2 extraordinary butterflies follow aromatics from our 303 Garden to the vicinity of the Briar Patch Garden? Is that how they came to visit us, following a trail of aromatic hydrocarbons? Curt, Phil, Virginia, Ken, Bob, NABA friends, Holli, Rose, Nancy and John, Dave, Dave W, Bill, Deepthi?

The accompanying photo? Me at the Habitat, working to score a Skipper image.


Waiting For The Giants

Giant butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Pigeon Mountain, GA

Here we are in the first week of July, and we are waiting. Here in my more than 2 year old natives garden, in Eatonton, Georgia, today was a good day: Eastern Tiger Swallowtails, American Snouts, Buckeyes, and 6 species of Skippers. Those who say that these last months have seen a dearth of butterflies, well compared to last year in the 303 Garden, they are correct.

Jock Stender of Charleston, South Carolina came along this week to see Virginia’s Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat, and today they stopped by to see our own 303 Garden. No mind that I was showing him around in 95F heat. It was fun finally meeting him and his friend, and we shared lots about the native plants that I showed him, and the butterflies we found.

We did not, did not, see any Giant Swallowtails today. Fact of the matter is, I’ve not seen a Giant in my sizable garden since March of this year, when a worn female flew in. We later found 3 Giant caterpillars, on their hostplant, Hercules Club. We enjoyed watching them grow, but, alas, they all disappeared shortly after. The usual suspects?

So we wait for the Giants and we watch our Tithonia grow, some of them now 3 feet tall, growing daily to their eventual 7 feet to 8 feet height.

We are some 1.1 miles from Virginia Linch’s Briar Patch Habitat, and when her army of Mexican Sunflowers open, and our platoon of Tithonia open, I have little doubt that the Giants will gracefully float in, and spend hours, sipping the must-be-sweet nectar of those beautiful sunflowers.