A Good Day for Butterflies

It was gorgeous on Saturday, mild and sunny. I was doing this and that in the front garden when I noticed that we had no fewer than three Monarch butterflies fluttering about. That’s the most we’ve had so far this year, though we’ve had as many as half a dozen in August and September, as the migration southward picks up steam.


They were slurping up nectar from the Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia). You can see the proboscis above stuck into the flower like a straw.

I tried but failed to get a good picture with more than just Monarch.

DSC_0895Actually, I noticed them first on the Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata). They were feeding on the flowers, but there was one who I’m almost certain was laying eggs. Later I looked for the eggs but couldn’t find them. Since Monarch eggs are pretty tiny, and I’ve read they lay only one egg per plant, the eggs still could have been there. That’s what I hope, anyhow.

DSC_0905I accidentally caught this shot of a Monarch lifting off from a Mexican Sunflower.

DSC_0906And away we go!

DSC_0868I also noticed what I think is an American Lady. She was a nervous creature, and it was hard to catch her when she was still. She seems a little drab, but I have the impression that both the American Lady and Painted Lady are more colorful on the undersides of their wings.

DSC_0006And look, there’s an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail.

DSC_0008First one I’ve seen this year in the garden.  I love the line of what look like blue thumbprints toward the rear of both wings.

DSC_0877Not a butterfly, but I thought this wasp was kind of handsome. He looks like he’s sticking his tongue right into the flower. Can anyone identify him?

DSC_0885I like his black and orange color scheme. Perhaps an Orioles fan? Or maybe the Bengals?

Earlier in the year the pollinator presence in our garden was rather sparse. At this point, though, it’s a hub of buzzing, fluttering activity. A very satisfying thing for this gardener.

That’s all for now.

44 Comments on “A Good Day for Butterflies”

  1. Tithonias are an absolute magnet for Monarchs, as are any of the milkweeds.

    I also found 4 Painted Ladies and a Red Admiral on a clump of Echinacea the other day-very heartening to see so many butterflies in our area. The “Mosquito control” companies do most of them in.

  2. You are so lucky to have butterflies. I have not seen one this year so far. Last year I had many butterflies, and my garden is full of echinacea, butterfly bush, liatris, and anise hysop, so there should be plenty of food. I really miss them. Wonderful pictures you took.

  3. That first shot of the Monarch on the Tithonia is fantastic! After years of very few butterflies in my garden, I’ve been seeing more this summer. I optimistically choose to interpret it as a sign of increased societal pollinator awareness and support. I hope it continues!

  4. I’ve already had one fat monarch cat in the garden, which was super exciting! I saw a monarch on the swamp milkweed and am hoping for caterpillars. My tithonia this year was stuffed into an empty spot by the air conditioner and ignored so it’s really little. Sad, I know. I resolve to be better next year! Love your tithonia pics! I have loads of swallowtail cats but this is their native range so I have loads every year.

  5. Such stunning shots os stunning butterflies, Jason! I wish we had more in the garden, but we don’t have the plants for the caterpillars to munch on so we only see them rarely and in passing. It’s something I’ll be working on after I get the year-round bee-food sorted!

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