Today I was off work and managed to get the time to look for butterflies and see what was blooming. This time of year many of our local "hot spots" can be fantastic or a disaster. Disaster usually means the highway department has mowed the roadside down to brown nubs. Each year the wild flowers change, some that were great last year are gone or taken over by something else.
I visited the Flat River Impoundment near Durham, it is one of the best wild places we have for butterflies. A good walk there can take 4 hours, today I shortened it and walked 2 hours. In past years Tickseed Sunflowers (Bidens) have been everywhere(seas of yellow), loads of butterflies on them. This year the tickseed is behind and barely blooming. So right now the best wild flower is Narrow-leaved Sneezeweed, it grows in the gravel roadway around a foot tall, today there was atleast a mile of in in the road. Also Brazilian Verbena was everywhere, it can be awesome for butterflies, today it was barely noticed by butterflies, might need some rain. Thistles were on there way out, still they are butterfly magnets!
Anyway cutting to the chase here are some photos I managed to get with my point and shoot camera today.
Silvery Checkerspots above and below on narrow-leafed Sneezeweed. I counted 25 of them in the parking lot, usually you have to walk at least a mile to find just a few. Found at least 100 of them, one on my best days ever for finding this species. The link above sends you to my big butterfly page Butterflies of the Carolinas and Virginias which is now back up after 31 days of being down. Forgot to pay for the hosting, the hosting changed hands and names, left me confused.
Pearl Crescent on sneezeweed, they look very much like the larger Silvery Checkerspot shown above.
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail on thistle, saw maybe 25 of them today. This is a crappy photo compared to the DSLR photos on my website.
Painted Lady on thistle, saw 3 of these today. I believe I missed seeing any of these last year. The 4 small eye spot help to tell it from the American Lady which was absent today.
Juniper Hairstreak today, what a lovely find! And on sneezeweed, sure that is another first for me. Made my day for sure! Their host plant is Eastern Red Cedar. Be sure to see my best photos of this tiny butterfly on my website.
Silver-spotted Skipper on thistle.
I think this is a Giant Robberfly, Promachus bastardiiI did a full post on them last year.