Silver-spotted skipper

26 07 2015

Silver-spotted skipper (Epargyreus clarus) on Pickerel weed (Pontederia cordata)

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

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Silver-spotted skipper

30 07 2013

Silver-spotted skipper (Epargyreus clarus) on chives (I think it is chives); photographed at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

SilverSpottedSkipper





Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

30 07 2010

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens’ “Experimental Meadow” was full of Eastern Tiger Swallowtails, Spicebush Swallowtails (click here to see the incredible caterpillar that this particular butterfly morphs from), American Painted Lady Butterflies, Silver-spotted Skippers, and Cabbage White Butterflies today.

Mary Ellen—no sighting of Monarchs at this garden today, unfortunately. I have seen a few in my garden this summer. In 1999 Mary Ellen founded Happy Tonics, Inc., a nonprofit 501(c)(3) environmental education organization and public charity. Happy Tonics also created the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary in Shell Lake, Wisconsin, a few years ago. I met Mary Ellen when I purchased milkweed seed from her eBay store and we have collaborated on design and environmental projects ever since!

GREAT PHOTO TIP! Here’s a butterfly photography trick I learned from Mary Ellen a few years ago. Wait until the butterfly has it proboscis inserted into a flower and it becomes completely distracted by the task at hand—then move in closer, staying as still as possible.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





At long last, butterflies en masse!

4 10 2008

The butterflies that we have waited for (en masse) all summer have finally begun appearing regularly, particularly Monarchs and now the American Painted Lady Butterfly (Vanessa virginiensis) I photographed late this afternoon. It is very similar to the Painted Lady Butterfly (Vanessa cardui). Those same links show you how to distinguish between the two. 

They move really quickly, so I wasn’t able to get many good shots before they moved onto other flowers in the garden. Most of the butterfly activity in our front yard garden is in the lilac-colored butterfly bush. I saw two American Painted Ladies and three Monarch butterflies just this afternoon, along with several Cabbage White butterflies and Silver-spotted Skippers—both daily visitors to the garden since early summer. This same butterfly bush is also a magnet for the Snowberry Clearwing Hummingbird Moth.

Click here to see a Cabbage White butterfly I photographed in the backyard in June. Click here to see Monarchs, Silver-spotted Skippers, Swallowtails, and other beauties I photographed at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, Virginia. Learn more about how to create a habitat for Monarch butterflies on the Happy Tonics web site.

I found a really terrific butterfly identification site here. To identify your specimen, click the boxes that correspond with things such as the group (moth, butterfly, etc.), how the wings curve, whether they’re curvy, jagged, or wavy, then how the rear wing is shaped, whether there are broken bands or dark or light ones, main colors that appear, and your location. After you click on all the matches to your specimen, a list of possible “suspects” will show up on the left. Simply click on each one until you find one that best matches your specimen! I’ll be using this site a lot more often.

If you really love butterflies, check out the images I shot in September at the Wings of Fancy exhibit at Brookside Gardens. And while we’re on the subject of Brookside Gardens, click here to see images I shot when my friend Jeff and I took a field trip with the Mount Vernon Garden Club this past April.

WANT TO SEE SOMETHING NEAT? Click here to view two claymation movies that illustrate butterfly metamorphosis. They were created by third grade students from Kings Park Elementary School in Springfield, Virginia.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.