Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Puddle party

I mentioned that I went out the other day to photograph insects at two of the local parks. It was a beautiful day to be out, but not so great for taking photos because of a constant breeze. I was hoping to find some colorful butterflies, but other than a few impossible skippers, the butterfly of the day was the cabbage white. They were everywhere, thick as thieves! The red clover and thistle seemed to be a favorite at one park, whereas the herb garden, and specifically the lavender patch, was the hot spot at the botanical park. I’d forgotten how well these butterflies like lavender since I don’t have it growing in my own garden any longer.

Anyway, while checking the pond edge for dragonflies, I came across this group of cabbage whites puddling along a damp place in the path. I’ve seen photos of swallowtails doing this – Larry has posted a few on his blog – but I’d never seen it for myself. I read tonight that it’s usually the males that do this as the minerals they collect from the soil or manure or whatever is thought to increase their breeding success.

There’s been very little butterfly activity in my own garden so far this season. The swamp milkweed is blooming and I saw my first monarch this past weekend. I’ve been checking the plants for eggs or caterpillars, but haven’t found any. There are lots of aphids and a few milkweed beetles making their living out there, though. The black swallowtail caterpillars that I posted about last week grew very fat and disappeared – I have my eyes out for a cocoon, but don’t have much hope of ever finding them.

9 comments:

Susan Gets Native said...

Butterflies are harder than birds sometimes, aren't they? At least birds make noise so you can find them.

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Mary said...

Most of us are fortunate to capture a photo of one butterfly or one bee on a flower, but you are the lucky one to capture a butterfly AND a bee together - in a close-up shot, no doubt. Jeeez.

mon@rch said...

It is always fun finding some of these guys puddling! This has been a typical year for me with the bflies but a few small differences!

Susan Gets Native said...

And let's hear it for our next guest,
"unwanted SPAM!"

Sandy said...

I have never seen this, but have heard of it. My garden is lacking in butterflies so far this year, too. Maybe because we are so dry here?

I did get a shot of one cabbage white today, though.

nina said...

Me, too--no monarchs yet! And my milkweed, my be-ooooooo-tiful milkweed, is almost past. So disapponting--no munchy holes anywhere!

Larry said...

Glad you got your puddle party-Butterflies drive me crazy when they don't stay in one place so that I can get their picture.

Marty said...

We saw the same thing a few weeks ago at Palmyra Cove Nature Park - at least 100 cabbage whites all in the same spot. When you walked near them it was like a Disney movie.

Just curious, though - are you noticing a paucity of other butterflies this year in NJ?