Friday, June 19, 2015

It's Butterfly Season!

In the garden both the tall fragrant Valerian and the Ninebark shrub have come into bloom, and they attract the butterflies like no other plants in our garden all summer long.  So for a week or two we will see plenty of butterflies fluttering about the garden, one of my favourite times of the year.

The largest and most attractive of these at the moment is the White Admiral.  We have 3 or 4 fluttering around most of the time.

As it flashes past, the under-wings look mostly black except for the strong white bar.  But if you get it against the light a little, the beautiful multi-coloured pattern shows through.

The single most common one is actually a moth, not a butterfly, as you can tell by its feathery antennae.  It's the Virginia Ctenucha moth (pronounced 'tenooka'), and I can easily see a dozen in 2 minutes.

Northern Crescents are also very common at this time of year.  Somewhat variable in pattern, these bright little orange butterflies are all around.

We've had a Viceroy too, distinguished from the later Monarch by that black bar running across the veins, and dividing the lower wing from front to back.

This picture gives you an idea of how many butterflies are fluttering around at the same time.  Miraculously the Northern Crescent flying past the Viceroy was also in focus!  An unintentional bonus!

And these are the two plants that account for all this beauty.  This is Valerian, with a very slight pink shade, and dozens of flowers on each flower head, about 5-6 feet tall.  Valerian is an annual which reseeds itself each year, moving around the garden as it regrows.  Knowing now that it's both the most fragrant flower of the entire season, and the most attractive to butterflies, we let it grow where it chooses to.  In every one of the pictures above, the butterfly (or moth) is sitting on a Valerian blossom.

The other is our Ninebark shrub, now out in bloom.  It is also attracting all these butterflies, but is a little harder to get photographs around.  It will just buzz with butterflies, Ctenucha moths and bees for  the next two weeks.

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24 comments:

  1. These are wonderful butterfly pics! How lucky to have them visiting your garden.

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  2. Wonderful photos ! We have added a butterfly and hummer garden to our yard and are enjoying lots of activity as well ! Thanks for sharing , Have a good weekend and happy first day of summer on Sunday !

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  3. Fantastic photos!

    Thanks for visiting.

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  4. A very nice diversity of butterflies, and beautifully captured!

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  5. Really wonderful captures. Those moth antennae are amazing to look at, but the butterflies are just the best. I see valerian everywhere growing wild in the wilderness here. :-)

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  6. Lovely series of butterflies, pretty moth and blooms! Great post! Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Have a happy weekend!

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  7. Nice to see you have so many butterflies in your yard now. It was reported on CBC New Brunswick that some Monarchs have been spotted already and they are hoping the early arrival means a better year than last year. I haven't seen many butterflies here at all. Guess I should buy a Valerian plant! ;)

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  8. Love those butterflies. I have lots of representations of them in my garden and in my kitchen.

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  9. Love that capture of the two butterflies at once! Amazing shot, even if it was just a lucky one. :-) Love it!

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  10. Beautiful butterflies! Great moth photo, too!
    The White Admiral Butterfly is close kin to the Red-Spotted Purple that is visiting my Butterfly Bush
    Have a wonderful day!
    Lea

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  11. I can never tell the monarch from the viceroy - thanks for making that clear to me now. : )
    The butterflies are beautiful. I love to watch them fluttering around.

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  12. Great shots, I have planted many things for the butterflies but find I don`t have a lot till towards the end of summer, thanks for sharing, phyllis in Pa

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  13. Very beautiful and colorful butterflies.

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  14. really beautiful!! i have only seen a couple so far but i always enjoy photographing them. it is a challenge!!!!

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  15. You have to have Butterfly's. That is is part of Nature also.
    They are delightful to see.

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  16. Beautiful shots! I haven't seen much of them here, but they tend to gravitate towards the countryside.

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  17. Wow, they're all gorgeous! We still haven't had many butterflies here.

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  18. I keep saying over and over today. Wow, I just learned something. Thank you for sharing.

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  19. Beautiful photos and I love seeing the butterflies! My Mom used to have a super tall lobelia shrub at the edge of her yard and they attracted so many butterflies!

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  20. Aren't they wonderful?! Thanks for sharing yours. I just spotted a White Admiral today!

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  21. Our butterflies are still few in number. I saw a swallow the other day and the red admirals are always around. You have captured some very wonderful photos.

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  22. I always enjoy looking for butterflies, but they always seem to be far away from where i am.

    pretty images.

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  23. What lovely visitors you have! It makes me smile to know that these critters are close enough to photograph.

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