07 August, 2010
All in a Day
The last day of July was one of those perfect days with bright sun, a bit of a breeze, and best of all – it was a Saturday. I stayed close to home that day and was able to take lots of pictures in the garden. The garden was near its peak of summer flowering, and the butterflies and insects were quite active. Many of the red Admiral photos in the previous post were also taken on July 31st.
This summer started off much wetter than usual and that has led to an abundance of Japanese Beetles. They have been quite damaging to a number of plants, totally skeletonizing the leaves of their favorites. In the 17 years we have lived here, I do not recall seeing signs of more than the occasional Japanese beetle, but this year many of our ornamental plants are sporting holey, lacey foliage. Here is a mating pair on a hollyhock.
Bumblebees, honeybees, and other bees and flies love the purple coneflowers and the blackeyed susans. If we could have only one kind of flower in the garden, I would choose purple coneflower, not only for its beauty, but also for all the insects and birds it attracts.
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly -- This summer, the eastern part of the US is seeing record numbers of the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly. Their range extends over the entire eastern half of the US and into parts of Mexico. We usually see a few of them in our garden every summer, but so far this summer I have seen only one of them, but this one is a real beauty! You can tell it is a female because the males do not have the blue and orange spots on the tail. Some females also have a dark form in which all of the yellow is black or dark grey.
Hedriodiscus trivittatus Soldier Fly – I thought this soldier fly was really cool looking, especially from the perspective in the second photo. The larval stage is aquatic and the adults are usually found on flowers near the water. I wonder if this one came from our little garden pond?