Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A Good Day for Butterfly and other Critter Viewing

I've mentioned that I retired as a special education paraeducator last spring, and am now substituting.  There is a rule that I can only sub a day or two a week.  I sure am enjoying the extra time, but am not keeping up with everything I do.  It will help if I wean myself from spending so much time on the computer.  Today, I got some compost turned, and some put in the garden, where I then planted some hardneck garlic.  I need to plant more, but I got hot and sweaty and needed to take a break.  During that break, I took tons of photos of butterflies and such.

If you are looking for my Wildflower Wednesday post, you will see it after this one.

Do you know what kind of caterpillar this is?  I don't, and I don't recall seeing one on an aster before.  It doesn't look to have eaten a whole lot so far.

There were several kinds of bees on the asters.  I wonder if this is a Metallic Green Sweat Bee.  It was about half an inch long.

I was pleased to get a couple of decent photos of this skipper.  Like Gail said recently, the skippers have been skittish this summer.

I was elated to see three Monarchs on the Solidago 'Wichita Mountains'.

As on the asters, there were several kinds of bees of various sizes feeding alongside each other and the butterflies.

This Bumblebee on the Pitcher sage caught my attention for a minute.

One of the Monarchs decided to visit a spent Rudbeckia 'Herbstonne' bloom.

As I walked over to the butterfly bush, I saw three Monarchs.  I know two of them had already been there, but one of them may have flown over from the goldenrod.  When Larry mowed a couple hours after these were taken, he said he counted eight Monarchs!  Cool!

I am not sure which kind of Hummingbird moth this is.  I was thinking it was a Sphinx moth, but when I looked that up, they looked a little different.  It seems like there have been more around this season than usual, and they are out during the day more.  I used to see them more at dawn and dusk.

The butterflies are still enjoying the Verbena bonariensis.

Here's a Painted Lady.

Walking back to the vegetable garden, I stopped to take photos of a Sulphur of some kind.

I was excited when I saw what I'm pretty sure is a Variegated Fritillary in the vegetable garden.  It was pretty shy, but I managed to get one with the wings open, and one with them shut, because I knew I was going to check in my book to see if that's what it was.  I don't remember whether I've seen them around before.  I read that violets are one of the larval food plants.  There are some violets that I let grow in the vegetable garden and a few of the pots here and there.  Well, I actually pull them out of the pots from time to time, but never get all of the roots out, so they come back.

Again, it's the Verbena bonariensis that the butterfly is feeding on.  This one is growing in and among the volunteer cantaloupe plants.

When I was turning the compost pile, I came across a few of these creatures. I was right in guessing they were grubs.  I'm reading that there are several kinds, and that they are part of the decomposition process.  I just hope they stay there.

Here are some more little helpers.

I uncovered an area where ants were making a home.  I think the little white things are eggs.  Can you see the ants carrying them around now that they are exposed?  What do you know about this?

Before coming in, I went to the front to check for more butterflies, and there was a Black Swallowtail.  What a fun day!

Oh, and I guess I went back to the asters to see if there was anything else to take photos of.  I had set the camera on the super macro setting, and left it there for these.  I do like the details on the bumblebee.  It almost looks furry.

There are some bee hives at UNL's East Campus, which is not far from here.  I wonder if our flowers are contributing to their honey.

I've seen a few of these around.  The aster is about an inch across, so this is about half to three/fourths an inch.  I'm not sure if anyone has identified them for me before.  Do you know what it is?  I sure like the markings on it.

I hope you check out the Wildflower Wednesday posts, including mine.


  1. Sue, you got some wonderful shots for this post. It's really neat to see what flying critters you have there in your gardens.


  2. I'm so happy to see the monarchs in your garden! With all of the news about their decline, it was refreshing to see them enjoying your beautiful blooms. We haven't seen any here yet--in SC, I usually see them a bit later. Crossing my fingers!

  3. Sue, I have seen many monarchs in my vegetable garden this year. It seems to be more than in past years but then I really don't pay a great amount of attention to insects in the garden. Your yard always has allot of activity going on with the vast array of flowers that grows there. It's been a real struggle with keeping up in the garden this year. Life events sort of took me away for a time and once the weeds take over, it real difficult to gain control back. Just a little time given to nature and she will take over quickly. It's always good to read about what's going on in your yard.

    Have a great butterfly day.

  4. Sue,
    Your garden is still so full of life! So many butterflies! I am in awe. I love your blog.

  5. BTW Your Bumble Bee looks like he's having a bad hair day! :)

  6. These are really good photos. It is good to see so many butterflies; we have had so few this year except for hundreds of white and yellow cabbage butterflies.

    I can't help with the id's sorry. Plant are more my thing I guess.

  7. Beautiful photos . . . how great to see such a variety in your garden.

  8. A really beautiful garden Sue. Nice variety of plants and flowers getting that precious butterflies are to taste. Congratulations.

  9. What beautiful photos, Sue! And how wonderful to see eight Monarchs! We had one here this weekend, and I was thrilled just to see that one. I've seen some of the last insect in my garden before; I think it's a thick-headed fly, of the family Conopidae, according to one source I have.

  10. Great critter photos. Sure enjoy seeing those monarchs. They're kind of low in numbers here right now.

  11. All those monarchs--that's great! That's a testament to your beautiful native plant garden! I think the moth is a white-lined sphynx moth. That is a great shot! I've been trying to get photos of them, but they're so fast--faster than the hummingbirds here. They've been much more plentiful here, too--and most active during the middle of the day. Amazing creatures!

  12. Wow Sue you certainly have a lot of butterflies and bees in your lovely garden.Congrats on all your Monarchs. We get the Gulf Fritillary, but I don't think I have seen a Variagated Fritillary here.


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