Thursday, September 2, 2010

Butterfly Garden--Sept. 1, 2010

Yesterday I headed out to the Kokosing Gap trail in Gambier to rollerblade before it got too hot. First though, I stopped by the Brown Family Environmental Center of Kenyon College to check out the butterfly garden. It was a riot of butterflies! My brand new "Butterflies of Ohio" field guide by Jaret C. Daniels got a real workout.

I was greeted by a Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos), a common, territorial butterfly that I often see in my field at home. The caterpillars feed on various species of aster.

There were several fritillaries. This one is a Variegated Fritillary (Euptoieta claudia). It is a common visitor here, but does not breed in Ohio.

This is a rather faded Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele) on a zinnia, probably a female. They mate in early summer, then the females don't lay their eggs until now. By now the males have disappeared.

There were a dozen Black Swallowtails (Papilio polyxenes). It's a common garden butterfly and this one was so intent on its flower that it permitted me to approach it closely.

Tiger Swallowtails (Papilio glaucus) were abundant here too. I grew up seeing these in the woodland canopy, rarely getting a close look. The zinnias and butterfly bushes in this garden brought them in!

A Milbert's Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis milberti) allowed me to get close enough for a picture. The adults feed on rotting fruit and carrion as well as flower nectar. They are at the southern edge of their range here, rarely appearing south of Columbus.

After I left the garden I hiked back along the riverside trail. There was a flock of Summer Azures on jewelweed as I entered the woods, and this Northern Pearly Eye (Enodia anthedon) flitted along the trail. The caterpillars feed on woodland grasses and the adults are common in shady woods feeding on sap flows, carrion, and dung.

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