Category Archives: Butterflies of Central Texas

Butterflies That Visited The Butterfly Patch in 2014

These photos are of the butterfly species that visited my “patch” or other parts of my yard during this past year. I have “played and anguished” over which photos to post. I spent countless hours going back and forth over way too many photos. I edited and re-edited and cropped and re-cropped. And when I got tired I read the news or a post here and there or simply closed the computer and rested. And I rested a lot because I still have little to no energy due to afib which I have put off getting fixed. (I will be getting that done soon).

Today, 1/19/15, I gave up for adoption, my Aussie cattle dog, Zoey (Zoe). She was my dog since she was a puppy that was tossed/dumped into my backyard. I loved her with all my heart and she was very bonded to me. However, my two adult children decided a year ago that Zoey made too much noise when they visited me. They said I did not need a crazy dog. Funny thing is that Zoe was only a problem when they visited. Zoey was not a perfect dog and had some faults but she was my protector. Anyhow, they nagged and hounded me until I finally relented thinking that Zoe could have a better home where she could get more attention. (No energy to play with her or give her rides on the cart that she loved so much. I’ve been very depressed and cried most of the day but she went to what I believe is a wonderful family. The man of the house said to me, ” It’s for the best isn’t it?” I replied, “I hope so.”

There will be a post soon, probably in a few days or less about the adoption and the sadness that I felt as I sobbed all the way to meet the people and then all the way home. But enough about that.

This is a long post. The number of species were fewer last year than the year before. But the number of Queens had increased dramatically. At least 10-25 Queens were in the butterfly patch from 10-am till about 4-5pm each day. Whenever I felt down and out, I wobbled to the patch and just watched the butters hovering and nectaring. What a glorious sight to briefly raise my spirits during some of my darkest days. The pics are not so hot but that’s what one gets with with a cheap lens. Maybe one day when I am well after the ablation I’ll have a good lens…

Monarch (danaus plexippus) Wingspan 3.5"-4" nectaring on non-native Mexican Butterfly milkweed in my butterfly patch

Monarch (danaus plexippus) Wingspan 3.5″-4″ nectaring on non-native Mexican Butterfly milkweed in my butterfly patch

Monarch (danaus plexippus) Wingspan: 3.5"- 4"  nectaring on Mexican Butterfly Milkweed (non-native host and nectar plant)

Monarch (danaus plexippus) Wingspan: 3.5″- 4″ nectaring on Mexican Butterfly Milkweed (non-native host and nectar plant)

Gulf Fritillary (agraulis vanillae) Wingspan 2.5"-3"  Female getting ready to deposit eggs on host plant-  ( Passif lora Incarnata (passionvine) native

Gulf Fritillary (agraulis vanillae) Wingspan 2.5″-3″ Female getting ready to deposit eggs on host plant- ( Passif
lora Incarnata (passionvine) native

Gulf Fritillaries (agraulis vanillae)  Furthering the species

Gulf Fritillaries (agraulis vanillae) Furthering the species

Gulf Fritillaries male and female furthering the species

Gulf Fritillaries male and female furthering the species

Queen x1 (danaus gilippus) Wingspan: 3"-3.5" Nectaring on blue mist flower.

Queen x1 (danaus gilippus) Wingspan: 3″-3.5″ Nectaring on blue mist flower.

Queens x2 (danaus gilippus) Wingspan: 3"-3.5" Nectaring on blue mist flower.

Queens x2 (danaus gilippus) Wingspan: 3″-3.5″ Nectaring on blue mist flower.

Queens  x3 nectaring on Blue Mist Flower which grows rampant in my butterfly patch. It has no insect or disease problems.

Queens x3 nectaring on Blue Mist Flower which grows rampant in my butterfly patch. It has no insect or disease problems.

Pipevine Swallowtail (battus philenor)  Wingspan: 2.8"-4" This pic for ID purpose- note the 7 orange dots  in a "c" or semicircle on the underside of the hindwings. Nectaring on Skyflower in this pic. Pipevine Swallowtail (battus philenor) Wingspan: 2.8″-4″ This pic for ID purpose- note the 7 orange dots in a “c” or semicircle on the underside of the hindwings. Nectaring on Skyflower in this pic.[/caption]
Pipevine Swallowtail (battus philenor)  Wingspan: 2.8"-4"   This photo taken in 2013.  No energy this year when this butter appeared. Note the metallic blue of the hindwings, Constant fluttering of  the wings. Difficult to photograph.

Pipevine Swallowtail (battus philenor) Wingspan: 2.8″-4″ This photo taken in 2013. No energy this year when this butter appeared. Note the metallic blue of the hindwings, Constant fluttering of the wings. Difficult to photograph.

Giant Swallowtail (papilio cresphontes)Wingspan: 4"-4.5"  Host plant in my yard -Common Rue which is in the citrus family.

Giant Swallowtail (papilio cresphontes)Wingspan: 4″-4.5″ Host plant in my yard -Common Rue which is in the citrus family.

 Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (papilio glaucus  Wingspan: 3.5"-5.5" This photo taken 9/2014. Butter was resting on a leaf.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (papilio glaucus Wingspan: 3.5″-5.5″ This photo shot taken 9/2014. Butter was resting on a leaf.

-plight-of-the-priceless-monarch-butterfly/attachment/5545/” rel=”attachment wp-att-5545″>Butterfly egg of the Black Swallowtail on Common Rue,  A 2013 photo. Butterfly egg of the Black Swallowtail on Common Rue, A 2013 photo.[/caption]
Black swallowtail (pupilio polyxenes) Wingspan: 2.5"-4" Host plants in my yard dill, fennel, common rue, parsley. In this pic she is laying eggs on a huge stand of volunteer dill.  This pic is not sharp. Sun was directly over head and she was constantly beating her wings. I could not zero in on her.  They always seem to lay eggs very early or at the hottest time of the day.

Black swallowtail (pupilio polyxenes) Wingspan: 2.5″-4″ Host plant in my yard dill, fennel, common rue, parsley. In this pic she is laying eggs on a huge stand of volunteer dill. This pic is not sharp. Sun was directly over head and she was constantly beating her wings. I could not zero in on her. They always seem to lay eggs very early or at the hottest time of the day.

Pearl Crescent (phyciodes tharos) wingspan: 1"_ 1.5" Host plant in my yard- native fall Aster. Also a favorite nectaring plant of this butter.

Pearl Crescent (phyciodes tharos) wingspan: 1″_ 1.5″ Host plant in my yard- native fall Aster. Also a favorite nectaring plant of this butter.

Skipper, Sachem? This was early March of 2014 when the Mexican plum was in full bloom. Within about two days after this was shot- hard freeze hit- down around 15 degrees or so. I think lots of butterflies were wiped out.

Phaon Crescent (phyciodes phaon) Wingspan: .8-1.2" Nectaring on native Fall Aster

Phaon Crescent (phyciodes phaon) Wingspan: .8-1.2″ Nectaring on native Fall Aster

Skippers are difficult for me to ID. I am calling this one a Sachem (atalopedes campestris) Wingspan: 1-1.5" Host plant in my yard: Bermuda grass.

Skippers are difficult for me to ID. I am calling this one a Sachem (atalopedes campestris) Wingspan: 1-1.5″ Host plant in my yard: Bermuda grass.

Painted Lady (vamessa cardui) Wingspan: 2" -2.5" Nectaring on African Blue Sage)

Painted Lady (vamessa cardui) Wingspan: 2″ -2.5″
Nectaring on African Blue Sage)

Painted Lady-  (vanessa cardui) wingspan: 2"-2.5"  Nectaring on African Blue Sage. This in a pic from 2013. Needed this for showing wing pattern for ID. Nectaring on African Blue Sage

Painted Lady- (vanessa cardui) wingspan: 2″-2.5″ Nectaring on African Blue Sage. This in a pic from 2013. Needed this for showing wing pattern for ID. Nectaring on African Blue Sage

Horace's Duskywing (erynnis boratius) winfspan 1"-1.5" Not sure of this ID. Possibly Northrn Cloudywing. Host plant in my yard for the cloudywing- Red Oak and Live Oak.

Horace’s Duskywing (erynnis boratius) winfspan 1″-1.5″ Not sure of this ID. Possibly Northrn Cloudywing. Host plant in my yard for the cloudywing- Red Oak and Live Oak.

Northern Cloudywing (thorybes pylades) Wingspan 1.3-1.7".  I'm not 100% sure of the identity of this one. Possibly Horaces' Duskywing. Much of the color and markings have faded. Host plant for the duskywing is the oak in my yard.

Northern Cloudywing (thorybes pylades) Wingspan 1.3-1.7″. I’m not 100% sure of the identity of this one. Possibly Horaces’ Duskywing. Much of the color and markings have faded. Host plant for the duskywing is the oak in my yard.

Gray Hairstreak (strymon melinus) wingspan: 1"-1.2" nectaring on Blue Mist Flower. Host plant in my yard- various flowers

Gray Hairstreak (strymon melinus) wingspan: 1″-1.2″ nectaring on Blue Mist Flower. Host plant in my yard- various flowers

Bordered Patch (chlosyne lucinia) Wingspan: 1.8.-2.3" Host plants in my yard- native sunflowwers

Bordered Patch (chlosyne lucinia) Wingspan: 1.8.-2.3″
Host plants in my yard- native sunflowwers

American Lady (vanessa virginiesis) Wingspan 1.8"-2.5" Nectaring on Blue Mist Flower. Note 2 underwing spots that distinguishes from Painted Lady

American Lady (vanessa virginiesis) Wingspan 1.8″-2.5″ Nectaring on Blue Mist Flower. Note 2 underwing spots that distinguishes from Painted Lady

American Lady (Vanessa virginiesis) wingspan: 1.8"-2.5" Nectaring on Blue Mist flower 10-16-2014

American Lady (Vanessa virginiesis) wingspan: 1.8″-2.5″ Nectaring on Blue Mist flower 10-16-2014

Post and photography: yvonne daniel

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Fall Butterflies: 2013 (Tilt your screen back a bit for improved viewing).

Yes, here it is February 6th, 2014. Fall butterflies are long gone. I last saw butters in the garden around December 5th or when ever that first norther arrived. My last day to photograph any in the yard was December 4th, 2013.

I’ve had lots of spare time interspersed with busy time but I had not much energy or desire to put forth the effort to work on this blog. It seems I follow the old adage. “Hour late and a dollar short.” Stress the late and short part. ๐Ÿ™‚

To view these photos tilt your screen back a bit and the saturation/exposure/viewing will improve.

Pipevine Swallowtail (Wingspan 4.5-4.5") Nectaring in Skyflower Host plant: Pipevines. This was my first sighting of this species.  Remarkable display with the constant beating of its wings as it moved all around the Skyfower. I had to put lots of effort in order to get some pics. It was quite hot the day that I happened to go out and check the flowers for any butterflies. The light was very bright with the sun still high in the sky, I could not get the exposures that I would have preferred. It's like photographing birds. You take what you can for the opportunity will probably not be present again.

Pipevine Swallowtail
(Wingspan 4.5-4.5″) Nectaring on Skyflower
Host plant: Pipevines. This was my first sighting of this species. Remarkable display with the constant beating of its wings as it moved all around the Skyfower. I had to put lots of effort in order to get some pics. It was quite hot the day that I happened to go out and check the flowers for any butterflies. The light was very bright and with the sun still high in the sky, I could not get the exposures that I would have preferred. It’s like photographing birds. You take what you can for the opportunity will probably not be present again.

Gulf Fritillary nectaring on Skyflower (Duranta).I love the backgrpound color of this photo. I don't use Photoshop and I have no idea how this color was achieved. I just know that it was a pleasant surprise. Photographed November, 2013.

Gulf Fritillary nectaring on Skyflower (Duranta).I love the backgrpound color of this photo. I don’t use Photoshop and I have no idea how this color was achieved. I just know that it was a pleasant surprise. Photographed November, 2013.

Gulf Fritillary on skyflower.Host plant is native Passionvine. EXOTIC PASSIONVINE WILL KILL THE CATERPILLARS. More about that in some other post. One or two exotics are safe but you must do the research before planting to ensure you have the safe species of passionvine.       Photo. Oct. 2013

Gulf Fritillary on skyflower.Host plant is native Passionvine. EXOTIC PASSIONVINE WILL KILL THE CATERPILLARS. More about that in some other post. One or two exotics are safe but you must do the research before planting to ensure you have the safe species of passionvine. Photo. Oct. 2013

Pipevine Swallowtail nectaring on Skyflower (duranta). Photographed Sept. 24, 2013

Pipevine Swallowtail nectaring on Skyflower (duranta). Photographed Sept. 24, 2013

Hackberry Emperor nectaring on rotting banana that I had placed on a large rock. Some butterflies nectar on rotting fruit and dearly love fruit that has been spiked with wine or even beer. I've not tried the "spirits" to entice the butters yet but I'm planning to buy some cheap wine this spring to lace up some bananas for the butters to enjoy.

Hackberry Emperor nectaring on rotting banana that I had placed on a large rock. Some butterflies nectar on rotting fruit and dearly love fruit that has been spiked with wine or even beer. I’ve not tried the “spirits” to entice the butters yet but I’m planning to buy some cheap wine this spring to lace up some bananas for the butters to enjoy.

Little

Little Yellow nectaring on Skyflower. It is difficult to catch a sulfur with unfolded wings. I’ve looked in Google at the butterflies so many times I feel as though I’m now “Googled eyed.” ๐Ÿ™‚

Gulf fritillary nectaring on Lantana

Gulf fritillary nectaring on Lantana

Northern Cloudywing? Posssibly Horace's Duskywing? One of the two. :-) I'm sorry but these little ones are extremely difficult to ID without good field marks. nectaring on Maximillian sunflower. Sept. 2013

Northern Cloudywing or Horace’s Duskywing nectaring on Maximillian sunflower. Sept. 2013

Pipevine Swallowtail nectaring on Skyflower (duranta). Photographed Sept. 24, 2013

Pipevine Swallowtail nectaring on Skyflower (duranta). Photographed Sept. 24, 2013

Monarch nectaring on Mexican butterfly weed. Photographed early Nov. 2013

Monarch nectaring on Mexican butterfly weed. Photographed early Nov. 2013

Three Queens  nectaring on Mexican Butterfly Weed

Three Queens nectaring on Mexican Butterfly Weed

Common Mestra (wingspan 1.5- 1.7") nectaring on African Blue Sage

Common Mestra (wingspan 1.5- 1.7″) nectaring on African Blue Sage

Painted Lady- wingspan: 2-2.5"  Nectaring on African Blue Sage. Note the tattered wings. This lady had seen some rough times. :-)

Painted Lady- wingspan: 2-2.5″ Nectaring on African Blue Sage. Note the tattered wings. This lady had seen some rough times. ๐Ÿ™‚

Common Mestra. Wingspan: 1.5"-1.7."   My first glimpse of this dainty little flitter. I like the odd pattern of the underwing.

Common Mestra. Wingspan: 1.5″-1.7.” My first glimpse of this dainty little flitter. I like the odd pattern of the underwing.

Gulf Fritillary- winspan: 2.5"-3". Nectaring on African Blue Sage

Gulf Fritillary- winspan: 2.5″-3″. Nectaring on African Blue Sage

American Snout showing underwing pattern. Wingspan: 1.6-1.8" This butter was nectaring on African Blue Basil.

American Snout showing underwing pattern. Wingspan: 1.6-1.8″
This butter was nectaring on African Blue Basil.

White Checkered-skipper: (Wingspan- .8-1.2")  on Scabiosa. Look for the very slender dark colored proboscis  in the middle of the bloom. A very pretty dainty skipper. Host plants- Mallow, Sidas.  Photographed 12/3/2013

White Checkered-skipper: (Wingspan- .8-1.2″) on Scabiosa. Look for the very slender dark colored proboscis in the middle of the bloom. A very pretty dainty skipper. Host plants- Mallow, Sidas. Photographed 12/3/2013

Variegated Fritillary. Wingspan- 1.8-2.5". Nectaring on Copper Camyon Daisy. Note part of the upper right wing is missing. Host plants- Flax, Passionvine

Variegated Fritillary. Wingspan- 1.8-2.5″. Nectaring on Copper Camyon Daisy. Note part of the upper right wing is missing. Host plants- Flax, Passionvine

Sachem Skipper?  Not positive of ID. Nectaring on Copper Canyon Daisy November, 2013

Sachem Skipper? Not positive of ID. Nectaring on Copper Canyon Daisy November, 2013

Orange Sulphur? Wingspan: 1.5-2.5"   Not sure of ID but I think this is correct - looks like the photos in the ID guides. :-) Nectaring on Copper Canyon Daisy.  Host plants- Clover, Vetch, Bluebonnets. Photo : 12/3/2013

Orange Sulphur? Wingspan: 1.5-2.5″ Not sure of ID but I think this is correct – looks like the photos in the ID guides. Nectaring on Copper Canyon Daisy. Host plants- Clover, Vetch, Bluebonnets. Photo : 12/3/2013

Southern Dogface on native Aster. Dec. 3.2013 When the wings are "unfolded" an illusion of a dog's face in profile can be seen- with a bit of imagination. :-) The wings are folded here so don't try using your imagination.  :-)  Host plants: Clover,Dalea, False Indigo

Southern Dogface on native Aster. Dec. 3.2013
When the wings are “unfolded” an illusion of a dog’s face in profile can be seen- with a bit of imagination. ๐Ÿ™‚
The wings are folded here so don’t try using your imagination. ๐Ÿ™‚ Host plants: Clover,Dalea, False Indigo

White Checkered-Skipper on Scabiosa  Wingspan:   .8-1.2" Photographed 12/3/2013

White Checkered-Skipper on Scabiosa Wingspan: .8-1.2″
Photographed 12/3/2013

Skipper, ID unknown. Possibly a Schem skipper?  Nectaring on African Blue Sage  Nov. 18,2013  Host plant is Bermuda grass and other grasses. That is easy. Lots of Bermuda grass. I have Bermuda in my yard where its allowed to grow tall in one area. :-)

Skipper, ID unknown. Possibly a Schem skipper? Nectaring on African Blue Sage Nov. 18,2013 Host plant is Bermuda grass and other grasses. That is easy. Lots of Bermuda grass. I even have that in my yard where its allowed to grow tall in one area. ๐Ÿ™‚

Monarch female in a last ditch effort to lay an egg . Note the abdomen stretched away from her body as she attempts to deposit an egg on the underside of a milweed pod. It was windy that day and a huge gust of wind blew her off the pod or maybe she just let go. She fell toward the Copper Canyon Daisy and when I turned around to see where she had landed I could not find her. She has part of the left upper wing missing. The injured wing is apparent if you look closely. It made me sad to think that she had probably flown many miles when she happened upon my butterfly garden. I wish I knew if that was her last hurrah. I think it was. Host plants: any plant in the Milkweed family. It used some of the 5 plants of my Mexican Milkweed this fall. Any naitve Milkweed will do plus this Mexican one. Some scientists believe the Monarch evolved and moved north as it used the Milkweed in Mexico as a nectar and host plant. Native Milkweed here in the states is being grown for its seeds. It is a finicky plant and does not readily germinate.  The nursery trade sells Mexican Milkweed and it transplants and grows easily.

Monarch female in a last ditch effort to lay an egg . Note the abdomen stretched away from her body as she attempts to deposit an egg on the underside of a milkweed pod. It was windy that day and a huge gust of wind blew her off the pod or maybe she just let go. She fell toward the Copper Canyon Daisy and when I turned around to see where she had landed I could not find her. She has part of the left upper wing missing. The injured wing is apparent if you look closely. It made me sad to think that she had probably flown many miles when she happened upon my butterfly garden. I wish I knew if that was her last hurrah. I think it was. Host plants for the Monarch: any plant in the Milkweed family. The Monarch used some of my 5 plants of the Mexican Milkweed this fall. Any naitve Milkweed will do plus this Mexican one. Some scientists believe the Monarch evolved and moved north as it used the Milkweed in Mexico as a nectar and host plant. Native Milkweed here in the states is being grown for its seeds. It is a finicky plant and does not readily germinate. The nursery trade sells Mexican Milkweed and it transplants and grows easily.

Queen , male Wingspan: 3-3.5"  Nectaring on Mexican Milkweed. Host plants- Milkweeds   Photo: 11/17/2013

Queen , male Wingspan: 3-3.5″ Nectaring on Mexican Milkweed. Host plants- Milkweeds Photo: 11/17/2013

Orange Sulphur? Wingspan: 1.5-2.5"   Not sure of ID but  I think this is correct - looks like the photos in the ID guides.  Nectaring on Copper Canyon Daisy.  Host plants- Clover, Vetch, Bluebonnets. Photo : 12/3/2013

Orange Sulphur? Wingspan: 1.5-2.5″ Not sure of ID but I think this is correct – looks like the photos in the ID guides. Nectaring on Copper Canyon Daisy. Host plants- Clover, Vetch, Bluebonnets. Photo : 12/3/2013

Pained Lady    Wingspan- 2-2.5"  Nectaring on Copper Canyon Daisy   11/22/2013 This butter hosts on  plants in the Mallow, Legumes, and  Thistles families.

Pained Lady Wingspan- 2-2.5″ Nectaring on Copper Canyon Daisy 11/22/2013 This butter hosts on plants in the Mallow, Legumes, and Thistles families.

Red Admiral- wingspan 1.8-2.5."  Nectaring in this pic on African Blue sage 11/18/2013.  Yes, I know. Where is the red on this butter? Well in this case it happens to have an orange coloration. Host plants include Nettle, False Nettle, and (pellotory? what in the world is a pellitory plant. I need to read about that one).

Red Admiral- wingspan 1.8-2.5.” Nectaring in this pic on African Blue sage 11/18/2013. Yes, I know. Where is the red on this butter? Well in this case it happens to have an orange coloration. Host plants include Nettle, False Nettle, and (pellotory? what in the world is a pellitory plant. I need to read about that one).

American Snout. Wingspan: 1.6-1.8"  Host plant- Hackberry tree

American Snout. Wingspan: 1.6-1.8″ Host plant- Hackberry tree

Monarch nectaring on Mexican Milkweed  11/17/2013

Monarch nectaring on Mexican Milkweed 11/17/2013

American Snout Wingspan: 11.6-1.8″ nectaring on Mexican Milkweed Photo 11/17/2013

Queen, male (wingspan 3-3.5")   This butter was on a dried seed head of Blue Mist which happens to be a favorite nectar plant of the Queen. There were only a few blooms left  and I have no idea if there is any nectar left in a dried seed head. But I've seen other Queens do this in the summer as well. Host plant: Milkweed. Photo 11/17/2013

Queen, male (wingspan 3-3.5″) This butter was on a dried seed head of Blue Mist which happens to be a favorite nectar plant of the Queen. There were only a few blooms left and I have no idea if there is any nectar left in a dried seed head. But I’ve seen other Queens do this in the summer as well. Host plant: Milkweed. Photo 11/17/2013

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The Perils and Plight of the Priceless Monarch Butterfly

Monarch on Mexican Milkweed

Monarch on Mexican Milkweed

Monarch nectaring on native Frostweed

Monarch nectaring on native Frostweed

Monarch Butterfly

Monarch Butterfly

Monarch favoring Mexican Butterfly Weed instead of native Frostweed

Monarch favoring Mexican Butterfly Weed instead of native Frostweed

Monarch reallyt likes Mexican Butterfly Weed. Most of them favored this plant to the native Frostweed in my yard.

Monarch reallyt likes Mexican Butterfly Weed. Most of them favored this plant to the native Frostweed in my yard.

Monarch nectaring on Mexican Butterfly Weed

Monarch nectaring on Mexican Butterfly Weed

The Monarch butterfly is found in various parts of the world such as Canada, USA, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and, even is a rarity in Great Britain if weather conditions are just right. It is the only butterfly as far as I’ve found that migrates an extremely long distance to winter in the fir clad mountains of central Mexico. In other parts of the world where the climate will sustain it year round there is no need to migrate.

In Canada and the US it goes through four complete life cycles where the fourth cycle is responsible for the first cycle of the next year. The 4th or last stage is born in September and October but here in my yard of central Texas there were three butters that were born between November 12 and the 19th. There were possibly more since I was only watching three chrysalis that I happened to find.

The last or 4th stage butterfly migrates to Mexico and those butters have a life cycle of 6 and possibly 8 months. During the winter months the butters in Mexico congregate in huge masses as they hang on the branches of the fir trees in the mountains. The hibernating butters, simply put “hang out.” This 4th stage butterfly comes out of hibernation about February and March, mates and then begins its return to the US and Canada. This last stage will look for milkweed plants as it begins winging its way north and east. The Monarch butterfly only hosts on Milkweed which has rapidly declined as progress marches forward and replaces native habitat with highways, byways, homes, and shopping centers.

But lets not forget the use of pesticides which have also contributed to declining numbers. There is one in use that is similar to DDT.Scientists have now identified this one that points to colony collapse of bee hives. So this one pesticide is also now killing Monarch butterflies as well. Or at least believed so. Studies are ongoing and it will take years to get the government to ban its use.

And finally the wintering grounds are now being decimated by illegal logging and fir tree clearance to grow crops for the drug trade.

This year by early November it was estimated that only 3 million Monarchs had arrived. Once upon a time the wintering Monarchs covered the fir trees of many acres. Now scientists say the trees used for hibernation amounts to less than a few acres.

Then the last straw is a huge debate involving the Mexican butterfly milkweed. Some scientists believe this plant is potentially harmful since it is not “the real deal.” Meaning that it is a non native. However, surely some of the Monarchs have been nectaring on this plant in Mexico during migration for eons.

Experts tell us to plant more milkweed and I say that any milkweed that sustains the caterpillars and results in a hale and healthy butterfly then it surely is ok. No one has banned its sale in the nurseries. If “we” are to plant more milkweed then somebody needs to make the native seeds available. I have searched high and low for seeds on the Internet and have yet to find a source. My last hope is the Natural Gardener and The Lady Bird Johnson Native Plant Center in Austin, Texas.

In March and April the eggs are laid on milkweed plants. It takes about four days for the eggs to hatch into baby caterpillars, called larvae. The larvae then eat and grow and after about two weeks, the caterpillar leaves the host plant and attaches its chrysalis to another plant or an object. Metamorphosis then begins and generally takes 12-14 days but one that I observed took about 4 weeks before it emerged from its metamorphosing chamber. The chrysalis was attached to the stem of a Copper Canyon Daisy plant.

The first three stages of the Monarch has a life cycle of 2 to 6 weeks and sometimes a bit longer. Only the last stage butterflies live 6-8 months.

The overall color pattern is one that I can best describe as a stained glass effect. The orange and black coloration of the Monarch does not sound impressive but after seeing a Monarch in real time I believe anyone would agree that the Monarch is king of the butterflies.

Butterfly egg of the Black Swallowtail on Rue,  I do not have a pic of a Monarch egg which is a bit more oval than this one.

Butterfly egg of the Black Swallowtail on Rue, I do not have a pic of a Monarch egg which is a bit more oval than this one.

monarch caterpillar eating leaves of Mexicam Butterfly Weed. Small dark globs on leaves is frass (caterpillar feces)

monarch caterpillar eating leaves of Mexicam Butterfly Weed. Small dark globs on leaves is frass (caterpillar feces)

In less than 1-2 hours this caterpillar became the jade green chrysalis.

In less than 1-2 hours this caterpillar became the jade green chrysalis.

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Jade green chrysalis, with gold rim at the top. Firmly attached to a twig

Jade green chrysalis, with gold rim at the top. Firmly attached to a twig

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Chrysalis of Monarch butterfly. Its former home where  it changed from caterpillar to a butterfly

Chrysalis of Monarch butterfly. Its former home where it changed from caterpillar to a butterfly

Monarch drying its wings in semi shade. Chrysalis lower left just below dried leaf.

Monarch drying its wings in semi shade. Chrysalis lower left just below dried leaf.

Monarch drying its wings. Frequent changing of shady to sunny. Time about 2:30pm

Monarch drying its wings. Frequent changing of shady to sunny. Time about 2:30pm

Newborn Monarch waiting for its wings to dry. It  was shady in this photo.

Newborn Monarch waiting for its wings to dry. It was shady in this photo.

Newborn" Monarch. My Lt. hand held bloom and Rt. hand held camera. Last pic before it flew away.

Newborn” Monarch. My Lt. hand held bloom and Rt. hand held camera. Last pic before it flew away.

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Butterflies In My Yard: Spring, Summer, Fall

These are all butterfly species that I have recorded in my yard over the past two years. In 2011 there were more Monarchs and Queens and in 2013 the numbers of all speciesย were down. I am a bit alarmed as are many other individuals who are concerned with conservation and preservation of all things in nature- not just butterflies.

Birds have declined in numbers as well and scientists, naturalists and, conservationists are scrambling about in an effort to determine what needs to be done to stave off the loss of any species. “Frankly” from my little ole perspective- there is not much to do except curb pollution, wide spread use of pesticides, herbicides and, human population. And now speaking “earnestly” I don’t see much hope unless laws are passed for limiting human reproduction to stem the tide of habitat loss. More people equates to more vehicles, more homes and loss of natural resources. Last but not least the use of pesticides and herbicides has probably wrecked the most havoc by killing off bees, butterflies and, birds.

If you are one that must use either one of these killers then do not entice butterflies or bees to your yard. One can learn to garden and grow crops without the use of a herbicide or pesticide. I know, for I’ve been growing all manner of fruits, vegetables and, yes, I have even had a nice lawn when my husband believed a yard was not complete without St Augustine grass. Organic gardeningย  reaps many benefits not only for humans but itย  proves beneficial for the bees, butterflies and, birds.

Sachem skipper? nectaring on Mexican plum  (Photo 3/18/2014)

Sachem skipper? nectaring on Mexican plum (Photo 3/18/2014)

Sachem skipper? nectaring  on Mexican plum   (photo 3/18/2014)

Sachem skipper? nectaring on Mexican plum (photo 3/18/2014)

Gulf Fritillary, nectaring on  Mexican Butterfly Weed,  July, 2013

Gulf Fritillary, nectaring on Mexican Butterfly Weed, July, 2013

Giant Swalowtail. Mexican Butterfly Weed  Spet. 4, 2013

Giant Swalowtail. Mexican Butterfly Weed Spet. 4, 2013

Giant Swallowtail, Skyflower  Sept. 4, 2013

Giant Swallowtail, Skyflower Sept. 4, 2013

Variegated Fritillary, Skyflower  Sept. , 2013

Variegated Fritillary, Skyflower Sept. , 2013

Variegated Fritillary, nectaring on zinnia  Sept, 4, 2013

Variegated Fritillary, nectaring on zinnia Sept, 4, 2013

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail,  early migrant- nectaring on Skyflower  August 31,2013

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, early migrant- nectaring on Skyflower August 31,2013

Sleepy Orange,  nectaring on Skyflower, Oct, 2012

Sleepy Orange, nectaring on Skyflower, Oct, 2012

Gulf Fritillary, Summer

Monarch on Frostweed, Sept. 26, 2011

Monarch on Frostweed, Sept. 26, 2011

American Snout, nectaring on Frostweed, October, 2011

American Snout, nectaring on Frostweed, October, 2011

Painted Lady, nectaring on Skyflower (duranta)

Painted Lady, nectaring on Skyflower (duranta)

Pearl Crescent, nectaring on native Aster, late Spring

Pearl Crescent, nectaring on native Aster, late Spring

src=”https://petspeopleandlife.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/372.jpg?w=500″ alt=”American Snout, nectaring on Frostweed, October, 2011″ width=”500″ height=”437″ class=”size-large wp-image-5127″ /> American Snout, nectaring on Frostweed, October, 2011[/caption]

Monarch, nectaring on Frostweed, October, 2011

Monarch, nectaring on Frostweed, October, 2011

Monarch, nectaring on Mexican Butterfly Weed, July, 2012

Monarch, nectaring on Mexican Butterfly Weed, July, 2012

Giant Swallowtail nectaring on Mexican Butterfly Weed, August, 2013

Giant Swallowtail nectaring on Mexican Butterfly Weed, August, 2013

Giant Swallowtail resting on a tomato leaf. A lucky shot for me. Wish that it had been a flower.

Giant Swallowtail resting on a tomato leaf. A lucky shot for me. Wish that is has been a flower.

Ceraunus Blue nectaring on Lantana, June, 2012

Ceraunus Blue nectaring on Lantana, June, 2012

Northern Cloudywing, nectaring on Scabiosa July, 2013

Northern Cloudywing, nectaring on Scabiosa July, 2013

Fiery Skipper, nectaring  on lantana June. 2012

Fiery Skipper, nectaring on lantana June. 2012

src=”https://petspeopleandlife.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/069.jpg?w=500″ alt=”Gulf Fritillary, nectaring on Lantana, July, 2013″ width=”500″ height=”447″ class=”size-large wp-image-5208″ /> Gulf Fritillary, nectaring on Lantana, July, 2013[/caption]

Queen, male-  nectaring on Mexican Butterfly Weed, Summer, 2013

Queen, male- nectaring on Mexican Butterfly Weed, Summer, 2013

Queen  Fall, 2012

Bordered Patch  nectaring on Frostweed, Fall, 2012

Bordered Patch nectaring on Frostweed, Fall, 2012

Texan Crescent resting briefly on some leaves.  June, 2012

Texan Crescent resting briefly on some leaves. June, 2012

 Eastern Tailed-blue nectaring on fall blooming  native Wedalia November 14, 2012

Eastern Tailed-blue nectaring on fall blooming native Wedalia November 14, 2012

Black Swallowtail caterpillar feeding on dill

Black Swallowtail caterpillar feeding on dill

Black Swallowtail female laying eggs on diil which is a host plant. The dill comes up "volunteer" in one of the garden areas that I made for the butterflies.

Black Swallowtail female laying eggs on diil which is a host plant. The dill comes up “volunteer” in one of the garden areas that I made for the butterflies.

Cloudleess sulphur- not sure of this one Nectaring in Salvia Greggii in March.

Cloudleess sulphur- not sure of this one Nectaring in Salvia Greggii in March.

Red Admiral obtaining moisture from the rocky soil

Red Admiral obtaining moisture from the rocky soil

i32k

Oak Hairsteak nectaring on African Blue Basil, Summer

Oak Hairsteak nectaring on African Blue Basil, Summer

Question Mark, sipping water from a mud puddle in the backyard, late spring

Question Mark, sipping water from a mud puddle in the backyard, late spring

Tawny Emperor.I found this one in  a pile of leaves one cool morning in October. I almost killed it by accident. I put it on a log to get warm so that it could fly to a nearby nectar source.

Tawny Emperor.I found this one in a pile of leaves one cool morning in October. I almost killed it by accident. I put it on a log to get warm so that it could fly to a nearby nectar source.

Pearl Crescent on native Aster. Summer.

Pearl Crescent on native Aster. Summer.

Viceroy, fall.Resting on on the twigs of a tree. Looks similiar to Monarch. A faded butterfly here.

Viceroy, fall.Resting on on the twigs of a tree. Looks similiar to Monarch. A faded butterfly here.

Hackberry Emperor, on the chimney bricks.

Hackberry Emperor, on the chimney bricks.

Northern Cloudywing down in the leaves in November, 2012

Northern Cloudywing down in the leaves in November, 2012

Common Buckeye nectaring on fall blooming Frostweed.

Common Buckeye nectaring on fall blooming Frostweed.

Bordred Patch is quite pretty but like a faded rose this one is bedraggled and faded.

Bordred Patch is quite pretty but like a faded rose this one is bedraggled and faded.

I was going to write and or work on one or more posts but decided to get this long dispaly of butterfly photos out of the way. There are more posts in draft form but I can’t get really motivated although I feel that these will make pretty decent posts. They’ve sat over in the holding pen in a state of torpor. I’m afraid that most are now sick since the poor things have been dormant for so long. I hope to rescue those soon by giving them a bit of oxygen to breathe some life into those torpid and puny posts. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve been in a state of torpor mysel for months, and I’m just now beginning to have enough energy to see what sort of damage I can do on WP.

The butterfly pictures are decent and some or not. Some of them are not good but again they are part of a record from my little habitat. Some of the butterflies are faded in the fall and are not at their prettiest. One or two I can not positively identify. I simply could not get a good view of all the markings. But I put a name on them and if these are not correct then someone I hope will put the proper name of the “flutterby” in a comment.

Bloggers that I follow who are extremely good nature and landscape photographers :
Andrew Hardacre: http://ajh57.wordpress.com/
Just Rod: http://reflectionsinpuddles.com/or
Steve Gingold: http://sggphoto.wordpress.com/.
Say It With a Camera http://mikehardisty.wordpress.com/

Most of these photos were not easy to come by. I had to do lots of stalking and creeping about and then stand or crouch like a statue. Such unattractive stances for a woman!

I hand hold my 200mm zoom for just about all butterfly photographing. Yes, the pics would be a tad sharper if I had used a tripod but there is no time to set up a tripod. And I can not sit or stand out in the Texas heat waiting for a flutterby (Rod’s name for butterfly.) I’ve debated with my self whether to get a 300mm zoom which would enable me to get some bird pics as well. On the other hand I doubt that I can hand hold the 300mm since it is a heavier lens. But it would be a USM IS Canon and a far better lens than the kit lens that I now use.

Three butterfly photos had been lost in a maze of folders. I wanted to use the best one of the Texan Crescent. I had cut it and then pasted to a new folder. But when I renamed the folder that folder attached itself to some other place.

I emailed Val and she gave me directions http://artyoldbird.com directions on how to find the lost photos and I now have them in a properly named folder. Val is a good friend who is super smart. She is a Word Press and HTML expert who has given me a 100% correct answer to everything that I have asked. Astonishing memory and an incredible artist. Super funny too. At the moment her blog is there but is inactive till sometime in September.

I have not proofed this post as I should. Frankly I am sick of it for I worked hours and hours getting the pics in named folders. I’ve spent way too many hours trying to correct some of the picture insert mistakes. I’ve decided to leave well enough alone. So enough already. ๐Ÿ™‚

Post and phoptographs: Original content property of Yvonne Daniel.
Please do not steal any photos from a little ole lady. These are not
excellent but at the same time some of them or not too bad either. ๐Ÿ™‚

Please do not reblog my hard work. Thank you.

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Monarch Butterflies Love Frostweed. Rerun: Original -posted 11/14/2012

Monarch on fall blooming native Frostweed. Photographed September, 2011

Monarch on fall blooming native Frostweed. Photographed September, 2011

Migrating Monarch nectaring on native Frostweed.  Photographed September 26, 2011

Migrating Monarch nectaring on Frostweed.
Photographed September 26, 2011

058I’m so sorry folks but this is a post that is an old one. But I see that WP did not recognize the original post date. I needed to rework this post due to some errors of spelling, etc. and the fact that these were done as a gallery posting. And the photos did not come out as a slide show as I had intended. I had goofed mightily and thus pulled it from the blog where it has been sitting as “private.” So tonight, February 25, 2014, I worked on “reworking” this post. ๐Ÿ™‚ Anyhoo so much for all that.

Around September the The Frostweed, a native, begins blooming. This dependable and very hardy plant is a nectar source for many species of butteflies. I’ve allowed it to grow in all its wild glory and in one area it is at least six feet tall. The tall ones grow along a wooden fence and receive the benefits of the neighbors lawn sprinkler system. Under the Cedar Elms and Live Oaks it is much shorter and maybe grows to about three to four feet tall. These areas where the shorties grow is much drier with dappled shade.

Some fifty years ago I planted maybe two plants that I dug from the wild. This past year I created a space of plants that caters to the butterflies taste. With the arrival of about five Mexican Butterfly Weed plants, the Monarchs all but ignored the Frostweed and instead zeroed in on the colorful Mexican butterfly weed which serves as a host and nectar plant for the Monarchs,

Freezing temps of 18-20 degrees killed the Mexican Butterfly Weed, a tropical flower. And, possibly a few other flowers of first year plantings that did not have an established root system. Now, I will have to buy new plants. I don’t mind spending a little bit of money. Anything to help the dwindling number of Monarch butterflies. Conservation practice is always a good thing no matter how small the effort.

Below is a link of one of my blogging friends, Stephen Gingold who is a superb photographer. Please check out his blog. His photos are a real treat. The first photo that appears when the link opens up is of a plant called Frostweed that grows in northeast, United States.

http://stephengingoldphoto.photoshelter.com/gallery-image/Flora/G0000J7rraELfG3M/I0000pGahqxyekVU

Monarch butterfly nectaring on Frostweed.  Honey bee in background. September 26, 2011

Monarch butterfly nectaring on Frostweed. Honey bee in background. September 26, 2011

Monarch Nectaring on Frostweed growing in my yard. September 26, 2011

Monarch Nectaring on Frostweed growing in my yard. September 26, 2011

  Monarch butterfly     (honey bee in background)

Monarch butterfly on Frostweed 9/26/2011

 Monarch feeding on Frostweed, growing in my yard.  October, 2011

Monarch feeding on Frostweed, growing in my yard. October, 2011

Monarch butterfly on fall blooming native Frostweed

Monarch butterfly on fall blooming native Frostweed

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Fall Bloomers and Butterflies (click photos to enlarge)

Fall is my favorite time of the year despite the frequent temperature changes in central Texas.

Butterfly species: Common Buckeye

Butterfly species: Tawny Emperor  )

There is a profusion of blooms in the wild garden that attracts the butterflies, bees, wasps, and beetles.  Most of the butterflies have had their fill and are gone by about 4:30pm so I must shoot when the light is not exactly ideal. So, I grab my canon with its 18-200mm kit lens, a tripod, and climb on my little electric cart and head on down to the lower part of the property where I let things grow just about as mother nature intends.

All of the native plants I dug myself many years ago from a patch of prairie that was doomed to a bulldozer and a huge Ford new car lot. There was not a soul to be found that would buy the property to be maintained in its un-touched glory. The prairie had never been tilled and was virgin land for eons. What a shame that even a university known for its research department in biology and ecology would not put up the money to preserve this beautiful prairie. It would have made a wonderful laboratory for the profs and students. I collected what I could:  seeds/plants and some of the grasses-  I dug before the bulldozers wrecked havoc.  I hoped and prayed that Nature Conservancy would somehow deem the prairie worth saving but even that huge non-profit organization declined to get invloved. I think politics played a huge role. Now the land is home to a huge building, a large expanse of concrete, and Ford motor vehicles.

Butterly species:  Queen  feasting on the luscious frostweed

A Queen butterfly feeding on frostweed

Some of the wild garden rampant with blooms

Frostweed- a butterfly magnet. Heavy blooms caused some plants to fall to the gound

Close up of Maximillian sunflower

Maximillian sunflower                                                                                                                                         .

Post and photographs: Yvonne

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