Sunday, April 30, 2017

Butterfly Garden Notes for April 30, 2017

I'd say the butterfly garden is coming along quite nicely.  Sunday I was home for a good portion of the afternoon, and there was a female monarch coming and going throughout the day laying eggs.  I keep seeing more eggs on the milkweed, but haven't see any caterpillars this week.  Could be I just can't find them or else they fell victim to predators.  I did see a tiny green praying mantis on the porch earlier in the week, so I know the predators are out and about.  Besides the monarch, I saw skippers, cabbage whites, dusky wing and cloudless sulphers.  Also, the hummingbirds are becoming more numerous now.  I've seen them drinking from both the feeder in front of the house and on the patio.  In addition, in the evening there has been a good number of white-lined sphinx moths.  We are just going into the warmer months now so I'm hoping the butterfly garden will be in full swing in the next couple of months.  Here are some photos I took over the weekend.

female monarch on milkweed
 cabbage white on verbena bonariensis
 skipper on milkweed
 male hummingbird

Monday, April 17, 2017

Creating my butterfly garden, Spring 2017

Over the past few weeks I’ve been preparing my garden for butterflies.  Most of the milkweed I have is from last year, so I’ve been replacing some of the old plants with fresh ones.  On Friday, April 14, I saw at least 3 new monarch caterpillars, so I know they’re out there even though they’re sometimes hard to see.  On Sunday morning, April 16 around 11 am I saw a female monarch laying eggs.  The front of the house is mostly in shade until after 12 pm, so she didn’t stay too long since it was a little chilly in the morning.  The cabbage whites are starting to come around again too.  Last year they were really interested in the catmint, so I need to make note to get more of that.  There are quite a few skippers coming around as well.  I should also mention that last weekend I saw what I think may have been an american lady butterfly.  I didn’t have a camera with me, and didn’t see her long enough to make a proper identification, but I’m pretty sure that’s what it was.

Besides the butterflies, I have white lined sphinx moths nectaring on the foxgloves in the evening.  I also spotted a tiny brown chrysalis on the patio which I think may be some sort of month.  It’s still a little early and the weather has been on the cooler side, so I am hoping that when it warms up, there will be even more butterflies visiting the garden.

At this time, there are plenty of bees enjoying the flowers.

Recently, I noticed there’s been a decrease in hummingbirds at my feeders.  I did some research as to why this could be because I was concerned since I always have an abundance of them all year long.  From what I could find, it seems this is probably due to the “super bloom” we’ve had from all the rains.  The hummers are getting their food from their natural resources (as well they should) and don’t need the feeders.  I imagine once the blooms fade, they’ll be back.  I did see a few on the feeder on Sunday throughout the day and while I’m happy they’re nectaring in their wild habitats, I admit I do miss their buzzes and chirps outside my window and on the patio.

Photos taken on April 16, 2017

Other garden notes:
April 14, 2017
My cat, Magic, watching the squirrel stealing from the bird feeder.
April 12, 2017, Monarch egg on milkweed
April 10, 2017, clematis on the patio