Over the past several years I’ve been trying to grow milkweed on the farm. I started with a patch in the garden and now have three large patches of milkweed. The original intent was to provide food and lodging for Monarch Butterflies. Last year I had a bumper crop of Monarch Caterpillars in the various milkweed patches. This summer I’ve seen the results of my labor. Not only do I have Monarch Caterpillars but I have a great variety of butterflies using the blooming milkweed. In addition to the butterflies there are also Ruby-throated Hummingbirds frequenting the patches as well as a variety of bees.
I spent the better part of a morning in my patches photographing butterflies. As I formed the idea for this blog I thought I must have lots of photos of butterflies on my milkweed plants. Later in the day I searched my photos and much to my surprise I don’t have a single photo of a butterfly on a milkweed plant. Either I haven’t been out in the milkweed patches at the right time or this is truly an unusual year. Today I counted 10 different butterflies in my milkweed patch. Here are just a few of the insects I found on my milkweed plants.
Silver Spotted Skipper
Great Spangled Fritillary
During the past few weeks I’ve seen an amazing number of butterflies in my small prairie. Normally this time of year I’ll see a few but butterflies but every day for the past several weeks I’ve been seeing large numbers of Eastern Tiger Swallowtails, Giant Swallowtails and Red-spotted Purple Admirals. The first batch of summer Monarchs hatched a few weeks ago and they have been very active in large numbers around the farm.
I’ve also been seeing a few Black Swallowtails, Fritillaries, Little Wood-Satyrs, Northern-Pearly-eyes, Silver-spotted Skippers and Black Swallowtails.
Normally it is difficult to get photos of them this time of year but that hasn’t been a problem this year. Almost all of the butterflies are feeding on the Wild Bergamot that abounds on the farm.
In addition to the large number of butterflies I’ve been seeing a large number of Clearwing Hummingbird Moths around the farm. I’ve been photographing in the same area for six years now and this is the first year I’ve seen Hummingbird Moths.
You can find more butterfly photos on my website.
Eastern tiger Swallowtail
Little Wood Satyr
Clearwing Hummingbird Moth