May 17, 2024

Summer Azure butterflies gleaning food from the surface of leaves?

A few adult Summer Azure butterflies appeared to be gleaning food from the surface of leaves over a period of a few days. Maybe it was nectar and/or pollen that had fallen from nearby trees? Or, honeydew from aphids? Clouds of pollen were visible during the preceding days. And, the Tulip Trees were blooming. Anecdotal information indicates that Tulip Trees generate significant quantities of nectar. Observations of the butterflies are attached below. They were exclusively on Wild Bergamot and Southern Mount Mint plants at the edge of the yard.

Posted on May 17, 2024 09:30 PM by rossberryhill rossberryhill | 3 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 15, 2024

Little Wood Satyr Irruption

There have been a large number of Little Wood Satyr butterflies floating around the edge of our yard for the last few days. Many dozens.

One of Little Wood Satyr’s larval host plants is Virginia Wildrye. I’ve planted a lot of Wildrye (Elymus) over the last few years. Primarily Virginia Wildrye and Canada Wildrye. My hope was that the Wildryes would outcompete and eventually succeed the Japanese Stiltgrass which had invaded the edge of the woods. Wildryes are shade-tolerant cool season grasses. Japanese Stiltgrass is a shade-tolerant warm season grass.

The experiment has been successful so far. The Wildryes have been able to grow more rapidly and taller than Stiltgrass during the spring, enabling them to avoid being overwhelmed by Stiltgrass during the summer. Stiltgrass has been disappearing over time and is now just a small component of the mix.

And, it appears that a side benefit of using Wildryes to control Stiltgrass is: lots of Little Wood Satyrs floating around the edge of the woods.

Observations attached below.

Posted on May 15, 2024 09:40 PM by rossberryhill rossberryhill | 5 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 11, 2024

Pearl Crescent butterfly nectaring activity

Pearl Crescent butterflies are abundant and have nectared on just about every flowering plant currently available since they first appeared two weeks ago: Roundleaf Ragwort, Philadelphia Fleabane, White Clover, Common Dandelion, Slender Yellow Woodsorrel, Oxeye Daisy, Common Cinquefoil. Observations attached below.

Posted on May 11, 2024 10:23 PM by rossberryhill rossberryhill | 5 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 05, 2024

The top ten most under-appreciated spring lawn “weeds”

According to the wide diversity of butterflies who nectar on these in our yard:

  1. Common Blue Violet
  2. Common Dandelion
  3. Ground Ivy (Creeping Charlie)
  4. Carpet Bugle
  5. Slender Yellow Woodsorrel
  6. Roundleaf Ragwort
  7. Philadelphia Fleabane
  8. Mouse-Ear Chickweed
  9. Small-Flower Buttercup
  10. Bittercresses

They fill a time gap when few other plants are flowering. And, they thrive in heavily disturbed environments, including mowed lawns.

Posted on May 05, 2024 10:56 PM by rossberryhill rossberryhill | 2 comments | Leave a comment

April 25, 2024

Butterfly nectaring activity in the lawn since I mowed it a week ago

The relevant observations are attached to this journal entry:

Eastern Tailed-Blue: Dandelions
Pipevine Swallowtail: Ground Ivy, Carpet Bugle
American Lady: Ground Ivy, Dandelions, Common Blue Violet
Holarctic Azures: Yellow Woodsorrel
Falcate Orangetip: Roundleaf Ragwort
Duskywings: Common Blue Violet
Spicebush Swallowtail: Dandelions

Posted on April 25, 2024 10:24 PM by rossberryhill rossberryhill | 10 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

April 18, 2024

Lawn “weeds” that have been popular with butterflies so far this spring

The championship trophy goes to: Common Blue Violets. Nectaring visitors have included Henry’s Elfin, West Virginia Whites, Clouded Yellows, Falcate Orangetips, and Duskywings (Juvenal’s, Sleepy, Horace’s). Violets start to bloom early, are abundant, bloom long, and are short enough in stature that the flowers are not impacted by mowing. They also are natives and start to bloom earlier in the open lawn than they do in the adjacent woods, extending their season.

Second place goes to: Dandelions. Visitors have include Duskywings and American Ladies. American Ladies seem to have a strong preference for Dandelions.

Other “weeds” that have been visited by butterflies include Small-Flowered Buttercup (Falcate Orangetip), Roundleaf Ragwort (West Virginia White), Mouse-Eared Chickweed (Falcate Orangetip), and Bittercress (Eastern Pine Elfin).

Over the last few days, Ground Ivy and Carpet Bugle have started to bloom and become popular with some butterflies.

All of these same plants have also attracted a wide variety of bees.

Posted on April 18, 2024 12:48 PM by rossberryhill rossberryhill | 8 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

April 14, 2024

Current butterfly activity in the yard.

During the last two days, the most abundant butterflies in the yard have been: 1) Duskywings (by a long shot) - Juvenal’s, Horace’s, and Sleepy; 2) Falcate Orangetips; and 3) Eastern Tiger Swallowtails.

The Duskywings have been nectaring prolifically on Redbud flowers. I’ve been looking up in the Redbuds in search of Henry’s Elfins. All I see, though, is Duskywings. But, I’ve found at least three Henry’s Elfins down on the ground on the gravel driveway.

Posted on April 14, 2024 06:26 PM by rossberryhill rossberryhill | 2 comments | Leave a comment

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