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butterflies in our garden!

 
Judith Browning
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Location: Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep clay/loam with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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This is a corner of our 'flat garden' ...an old homestead garden site that was newly chisel plowed for us by a neighbor just two years ago.  It is deep black sticky clay/loam...rich but difficult in many ways.  

The flowers... sunflowers, cosmos, mexican sunflowers and marigolds have taken over this end...there are some vegetables out there also but the flowers and butterflies have fed our souls for weeks now.  I've left the rest of the sweet allysum, calendula, g. basil and holy basil (tulsi) to bloom and go to seed but they are overshadowed right now

I'm collecting seeds of course and because the orange cosmos is one of my natural dyes, I collect the flowers a couple times a week  to dry which also keeps them blooming longer.  

There are lots of bumblebees, honey bees and other small flying insects also...just buzzing with activity all day long.

I'm wondering what to do in the fall.
We'll cover crop any bare places but I think I should leave this area standing for the winter?  I know that most of the pollinators lay eggs elsewhere but am not certain? and I know that the birds, as that gold finch on my echinacea seed will clean up and spread the wealth?

I might have doubled up some photos...for much of the summer I took short videos of their activity.... I have no way to add those to this post though.
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goldfinch eating echinacea seed
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Judith Browning
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Location: Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep clay/loam with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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Just a few butterflies are out there acting frantic as the wind comes up and the storm moves in....hard to get a good photo.

This one is a giant swallowtail that we rarely see.
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Judith Browning
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I need to get better at ID...we see the same ones frequently.  

Several, like this one are getting ragged.....
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Pipevine Swallowtail
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Anne Miller
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That last one with the blue is a Pipevine Swallowtail!
 
Judith Browning
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Location: Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep clay/loam with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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Anne Miller wrote:That last one with the blue is a Pipevine Swallowtail!



Thank you Anne!
I knew you would know these

I'll go back and label them.
 
greg mosser
pollinator
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here’s a good reference for differentiating dark swallowtails:

http://louisiananaturalist.blogspot.com/2009/06/four-dark-swallowtails.html

according to that, the one you’re calling pipeline swallowtail is probably the dark morph of the eastern tiger swallowtail.
i also see (9th image down in your first post in this thread) the main dark swallowtail in my area, the spicebush swallowtail - most identifiable by the shape of the big spots on the hind wing (kind of a thick ‘carat’ or arch shape).
 
Judith Browning
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greg mosser wrote:here’s a good reference for differentiating dark swallowtails:

http://louisiananaturalist.blogspot.com/2009/06/four-dark-swallowtails.html

according to that, the one you’re calling pipevine swallowtail is probably the dark morph of the eastern tiger swallowtail.
i also see (9th image down in your first post in this thread) the main dark swallowtail in my area, the spicebush swallowtail - most identifiable by the shape of the big spots on the hind wing (kind of a thick ‘carat’ or arch shape).



thanks Greg....I'll study that closer when I'm on my pc with some larger images.  The dark morph is what my husband was looking at but still was not certain?  I'm still leaning towards the pipevine but maybe I'll leave the photo label blank for now

that particular one is somewhat ragged and a little faded looking? Seems like I had some pictures of it's under wing also and that would help and ID.

EDIT: positive ID is a 'dark morph of the eastern tiger swallowtail'
 
greg mosser
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I think the thing I retained most from that blog is that pipevine swallowtails, both male and female, have blue that extends down the tail.
 
Greg Martin
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Thank you!  I babysit a 2 year old on the weekends and she climbed up on my lap to stare at your butterfly garden Judith.  She LOVED your picctures!
 
Judith Browning
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Greg Martin wrote:Thank you!  I babysit a 2 year old on the weekends and she climbed up on my lap to stare at your butterfly garden Judith.  She LOVED your pictures!



oh, that's sweet Greg!
you are very welcome
 
Mk Neal
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The photo that is img-3054a, one of the dark swallowtails look like female black swallowtail.
 
Judith Browning
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Thank you Greg Mosser for the link to that excellent site!
I'm going to try to post one of the pictures here just to have handy for comparison.  
I do believe you are correct in that the butterfly photos in my last reply above are the dark morph of the eastern female tiger swallowtail shown in the upper right of this image ....although the one in my image is old and ragged and maybe a little faded and I'm not seeing any bit of orange? I went back and looked at more of my flash drive photos and the orange is there....it is just the same color as the mexican sunflowers and I thought I was seeing those through the wings!

The top right is the female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, dark morph. Notice the white spots on her forewings are really dashes. Also notice the white spots on her hindwings have a little orange in them, especially the ones on either end of the row. Sometimes you can still see a little yellow and maybe even a tiger stripe, but the dashes and the extra orange is always there. She's a bit bigger than the other dark swallowtails, too.



...top left in the photo from Louisiana Naturalistis a Black Swallowtail, top right the female Eastern Tiger, lower left a Spicebush, and lower right is the Pipevine.

I've only posted one of the images from the site...there are other views that compare the dark swallowtails that help confirm ID.

...and now I see that the whole image did not show...had to find it elsewhere to copy here as I could not from the blog...well worth going there for the full image and more
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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You have wonderful butterflies there!

One of the largest butterflies here in the Netherlands is the Atalanta. As you see it is dark brown-black with red and white. Th is also called 'number butterfly', because sometimes the white spots look like numbers (9 or 6) .
 
Judith Browning
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Mk Neal wrote:The photo that is img-3054a, one of the dark swallowtails look like female black swallowtail.



thank you Mk...I think you are correct! Now I need to dig through the rest of my photos to see if I have one that shows the 'orange dot with a black spot' that is definitive?

Male and female Black Swallowtails can always be identified by the black dot inside the orange dot.



I wish I would have been thinking more about ID when I was taking pictures and during the busiest times for them....hopefully they'll be back in these numbers next year.
 
Judith Browning
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Inge Leonora-den Ouden wrote:You have wonderful butterflies there!

One of the largest butterflies here in the Netherlands is the Atalanta. As you see it is dark brown-black with red and white. Th is also called 'number butterfly', because sometimes the white spots look like numbers (9 or 6) .



Thanks Inge!

What an interesting butterfly...the 'number butterfly' sounds familiar? I never knew where they were from.
 
A Little
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I have found many crystalis and cocoons in the old stands of tithonia, seedum, zinnia, asclepias. Leaving the stalks overwinter is a good idea both for the plant and the insects. For spring clean up, take stalks and find a place to stand them up so they have a chance to emerge and live. I used to burn, compost or shred this garden waste, but not any more.
 
Judith Browning
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Playing with posting my videos to a youtube channel this rainy morning.  

I made the video 'unlisted' so not sure if I can embed?
I think the private setting probably won't let me post even a link though?

Here's the first test  second test...I had to make it public to show here.in the end, with Nicole's help, I have it 'unlisted' and it works...must have had it private the first time?

...the butterflies have been at least that abundant every sunny hot day for weeks!



 
Hester Winterbourne
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Inge Leonora-den Ouden wrote:You have wonderful butterflies there!

One of the largest butterflies here in the Netherlands is the Atalanta. As you see it is dark brown-black with red and white. Th is also called 'number butterfly', because sometimes the white spots look like numbers (9 or 6) .



That, to me, is a Red Admiral.  I've never heard them called Number Butterfly in this country.  Maybe we are less mathematically minded than in the Netherlands!

A little late, but I give you the Scarlet Tiger moth.
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Matt Todd
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I planted a test patch of an American Meadows blend and it looks similar to what you have growing. I too am torn on what to do before winter. The suggestion from the supplier is to high mow it after everything has browned up for the year so the seeds will disperse. But geeze dang, I don't imagine this will be easy to mow as thick and thickly stalked as it is! My patch is in a prominent location so I likely will mow or scythe it down so that I'm not looking at a patch of dead stalks all winter.
 
Judith Browning
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Matt Todd wrote:I planted a test patch of an American Meadows blend and it looks similar to what you have growing. I too am torn on what to do before winter. The suggestion from the supplier is to high mow it after everything has browned up for the year so the seeds will disperse. But geeze dang, I don't imagine this will be easy to mow as thick and thickly stalked as it is! My patch is in a prominent location so I likely will mow or scythe it down so that I'm not looking at a patch of dead stalks all winter.


I am going to try to leave these at least until the birds have had a chance to finish up the sunflower seeds and mexican sunflower seeds...I'm collecting a lot of seed as they mature also and I think there will still be volunteers.

I'm cutting some back as they get a little wind blown....and yes, there's the neighborhood Everyone has loved them all summer...so maybe I'll make a sign about the wintered over stalks?

I think you're right, it would take a scythe or even loppers for some of the stalks....can't imagine mowing unless they mean a bush hog?

What is in your american meadows blend?

The mexican sunflower, tithonia, has been the most popular here...butterflies, hummingbirds, bumblebees, honey bees....etc. sometimes fight over the blooms.  Everything else is busy also but I can tell tithonia rules.....
 
Matt Todd
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Judith Browning wrote:

What is in your american meadows blend?

The mexican sunflower, tithonia, has been the most popular here...butterflies, hummingbirds, bumblebees, honey bees....etc. sometimes fight over the blooms.  Everything else is busy also but I can tell tithonia rules.....



"Spring into Summer" is the American Meadows blend I have. But here's the thing... It's dominated by the tithonia which isn't even supposed to be in the blend! I love the patch, just didn't expect it to be over 7 feet tall and I am a little peeved that the 46 species blend seems to be full of stowaways like the tithonia and another sunflower which have shaded out most of the shorter varieties that are supposed to compose the blend. This is my test patch. I have a much larger chunk of yard smothering under tarps currently for fall planting (thanks to your advise and I believe I will only allow SOME of that patch to grow tithonia in the spring so the others get a chance too.
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Judith Browning
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Matt, I don't think anything has a chance with tithonia around...and most things prefer it.  I haven't had it volunteer though like I was told it would?

At least you intended your meadow...mine is about a third of our vegetable garden...shaded out the bush beans and other things.  I just didn't have the heart to cut them down.  The sunflowers were saved seed and I had wanted a lot of mexican sunflower (I even knew how large they get) ...but yes, the lower growing things did not stand a chance
 
Judith Browning
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Here are a couple videos showing how popular the tithonia is!
I did not keep recording because I thought the honey bee chasing away the monarch was the end of the action...then the bumble bee that is lurking to the right in the first video, zipped in and chased off the honey bee...I only caught it after the fact.


 
Anne Miller
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We got Mexican Sunflower, tithonia seeds in a mix we got from one of the Monarch organizations.  The Monarchs really loved it.

I saved seeds to plant the next year.

I planted four but something got three of them.  The fourth one was yellow and not as popular as the orange ones.

Then something [deer?] ate it.

Probably the best thing to do is wait for the sunflowers to die then remove the stalks.  Then you can mow.  That is what we did with our sunflower plot.
 
Judith Browning
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Yesterday we had a surprise on the ceiling of our front porch!

I can't believe we hadn't noticed the chrysalis before then...early dawn I saw the butterfly had emerged.

We were gone until 1pm or so and saw it was still in the same spot so thought it had died from the cooler weather.
A couple hours later, in the heat of the day, my husband was looking at its markings to ID and it flew away
Of course, no camera handy then and I tried to go look around the flowers for it with no luck.

The Arkansas Butterfly group says it's a Question Mark because of the slightly visible 'punctuation' on the wing.
We had thought either that or a Comma, as they are similar looking and Commas like hops flowers which is what we have growing on the porch trellis.

When I went searching in the flowers for it, I did see a Monarch and various pale yellow cloud butterflies...no swallowtails at all now.
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