Summer Monsoon Butterflies, 2015
The summer monsoon has been very wet this year and that means bugs, and lots of them. Whenever I step outside I am immediately covered in tiny gnats. They seem particularly interested in my ears. Getting bugs in my ears is another reason I prefer the drier parts of the year. It’s also why I’m keeping two bats behind the thermometer on the patio instead of just one like I usually do. Well okay, there’s no volition on my part keeping them there; the bats seem to like that spot, and they seem healthy and well-fed. It’s been crowded there behind the thermometer: there are also two lizards that have so far managed to avoid the hungry roadrunner that I hear every day clattering in the yard.
The rains are also providing lots of food (besides myself) for the bugs in the form of nectar. The summer-flowering Red Bird of Paradise had a few blossoms early this year in June, but with the rains they are suddenly covered with brilliant red/orange/yellow flowers. The Rosemary always seems to have a few clumps of little blue flowers, and the Texas rain sages have been popping out with a new round of flowers about every two weeks. And the sages don’t bloom all at once either, so as soon as one bush starts to fade, the next one bursts out in purple flowers.
And all of those flowers are collecting clouds of bugs, specifically butterflies. Here is a Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) on a purple rambler.
(That picture may go in a competition too.)
The next butterfly is a Large Orange Sulphur (Phoebis agarithe) on the bird of paradise bush.
It’s not very orange, is it? Anyway, there have been hundreds of these around this year. They’re big, and really very bright yellow, but the colors of the bird of paradise flowers are so vivid that the butterflies look a bit washed out.
The last new butterfly is an American Snout (Libytheana carinenta).
I get the “snout” part of its name but if it’s “American” then the color scheme seems off, doesn’t it?
Have another snout; they’re small 😉
The next two species are making a return appearance here on the blog, but they’re so pretty I’m including them anyway. First, a pair of Bordered Patches (Chlosyne lacinia) on a clump of zinnias:
And two views of Pipevine Swallowtails (Battus philenor) on the sages.
Some of them have the big orange dots and some don’t. I was happy to get that picture.
I’m saving the other critter pictures for next time. Meanwhile, I’m trying to think of more indoor things to do until the mud dries up. All of the outdoor projects are on hold until it stops raining so much. If it would just back off to about once a week, that’d be fine…