Swallowtail Butterflies: Tigers, Giants, and Spicebush
... notice some have tails missing and some have tattered wings (usually indicates older butterflies).
Tropical Storm Fay has yet to trounce our part of the state which is the place she was predicted to hit head on initially. She has criss-crossed all around us dumping copious amounts of rain and winds below, beside and above of us but not yet even a little rain has come our way from her trail. We may still get a rain shower from some of the feeder bands today but that is what they've been saying for the past three (or is it four now?) days. (Our prayers go out to the folks on the East Coast and in other areas of the state who have been pounded by some flooding rains for two days as Fay came to an almost stand still).
No rain but we have had uncommon and fairly steady winds and mostly grey clouds hanging over-head for these few days. Nothing we can't manage mind you.
Typically butterflies do not agree with gusty winds and cloudy days. So they are not usually so visible on these sorts of days. They require sunshine to energize and heat up their wings which in turn gives them the fuel they need to fly, so to speak.
So seeing them these last few dreary days dancing about throughout my gardens defying the winds while holding onto flowers as they do with such deftness has drawn my attention to them even more than usual ... if that is possible. I've been watching them with curiosity when inside from my kitchen window, from my working spot on the back porch, and as I do my gardening.
I find myself wondering... is it possible they know a storm is brewing? Is it possible they are storing up nectar for when the rains come and they must find shelter for an extended period? (Notice the bee sharing the penta nectar in the above photo-- I didn't even see it until I viewed the pic ... photo bonus).
It is as if they DO have an instinct about the weather and what is to come so they are busily flitting around taking their chances in spite of the wind that blows them about while they sip nectar with inate skill.
It occurred to me to attempt some photos in between the worst of the winds. I was certainly happy when any of them turned out viewable. These are all swallowtails but I've seen so many sulfurs, monarchs, zebra longwings, and fritillaries holding on to flowers for what appears to be dear life.
Again (photo bonus above) don't miss the smaller flying critter following closely in the path of the Giant Swallowtail.
I have no scientific back up for my theory of butterflies storing up nectar whatsoever just my own wandering mind observing their behavior. If anyone does know I am all about learning something new today.
I have been purposely visiting the garden each evening at dusk just to watch the hummingbird moths enjoying their time alone in the garden (well, them and the bugs). With poor lighting and their habit of constant movement I gave up on capturing a still photo. I finally resorted to a video which is less than fantastic quality but I thought I'd share a clip (30 seconds) of them with you just by chance you might share my excitement for these fascinating creatures who only visit the garden as the sun has dropped below the horizon.
Stay safe everyone and have a fabulous Friday, Meems