Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Giant Swallowtails and the end of summer

The end of the summer seems to be coming fast. Already, the nights are getting cool which is a blessing. Katydids and crickets still make their lovely sounds, drowning out most other sounds. The butterflies are still going strong--tiger swallowtails, fritillaries, crescents, skippers and more.

August 3, 2008

This Giant Swallowtail is the largest butterfly on our land, here feeding on the butterfly bush (not native but great for butterflies). The caterpillar resembles bird poo so now that I know that, I may be able to identify it on ash trees which would be its host around here. When provoked, it sends out orange "horns" so the caterpillar is called "Orange Dog" in Florida where it is considered a pest on citrus trees.

The other day, I saw a Pipevine Swallowtail on the ground. I reached for it and abruptly stopped. The poor butterfly was being stung by a wasp. I watched while the wasp repeatedly stung the butterfly and then devoured its head all within a matter of minutes! Later in the day, I saw the same thing happening to another Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly. I know the butterflies were on their last days but still I felt so sorry for them.

August 8, 2008

Where are the Monarch caterpillars this year? All I have found are other insects on the leaves (see photo above). I have only seen one Monarch butterfly as well.

July 22, 2008

Last month, I spotted this moth. He would have been well camouflaged on leaf litter but stood out well on the Rhododendron. The moth was almost as large as the Regal Moth I had posted earlier--at least two to three inches. Hopefully, someone can identify for me.

August 8, 2008

This Rose Pink (Sabatia dodecandra) is one of my favorite flowers of late summer. The plant grows to about one feet in our old pastures and flowers until early September. I tried transplanting it to the house but it did not survive so I will try collecting the seeds.


  1. That shot of the Giant Swallowtail is awesome! I saw some Monarchs one weekend a few weeks back...but haven't seen anymore.

  2. Kerri--I still haven't seen but one monarch butterfly--no caterpillars either. Still hoping.