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Summer Butterflies and Caterpillars in Georgia

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Giant Swallowtail in my backyard, June 2017, Snellville, Georgia

There have been many beautiful butterflies that I’ve seen here around Atlanta, Georgia this summer, but have been too busy to post until now.

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Great Spangled Fritillary in my backyard, August 2017, Snellville, Georgia

I try to look for and photograph butterflies in my area that I’ve not seen here before.

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Pipevine Swallowtail caterpillars, Snellville, Georgia, August 2017

Included in this blog post are those butterflies that I haven’t seen in my area before, in my past 17 years of living here in Georgia.

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Purple Hairstreak butterfly, Gainesville, Georgia, June 2017

I’ve also included a picture of some swallowtail caterpillars, for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!

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Pipevine Swallowtail Caterpillar (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)

Pipevine Swallowtail Caterpillar, Snellville, Georgia, September 4, 2015

Pipevine Swallowtail Caterpillar, Snellville, Georgia, September 4, 2015

This lovely critter was resting on the bricks near my garage when the daily temperatures were just starting to cool, back on September 4, 2015.  On further investigation, I counted 18 of these beautiful Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor) caterpillars eating the leaves of a vine-type plant that was growing in the flower bed.

Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly (Retrieved from pbase.com, October 9, 2015)

Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly (Retrieved from pbase.com, October 9, 2015)

I hope some of the caterpillars survived to pupate because I did not see anymore of them there after one week.  They may have become dinner for some other creature…  These caterpillars are the type of which I observe most often in my area around Atlanta, Georgia.

October Butterflies in Georgia: Monarchs and Purple (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)

Monarch Butterfly, Snellville, Georgia, October 8, 2014

Monarch Butterfly, Snellville, Georgia, October 7, 2014

Yesterday, October 7, 2014, was a real treat for viewing and enjoying butterflies near Atlanta, Georgia.  The past several days have been gorgeous, with just about perfect weather.  Yesterday was one of the most beautiful days of the year, and the butterflies were highly enjoying it as well!

Two Monarch Butterflies, Snellville, Georgia, October 7, 2014

Two Monarch Butterflies, Snellville, Georgia, October 7, 2014

The Monarch Butterflies (Danaus plexippus) must be migrating and making their way back to Mexico because there were two on our butterfly bushes yesterday.  One Monarch stayed all day long, and the other was on “lay-over,” only staying for a little while.  They both replenished their energy by drinking the nectar from the Buddleja butterfly bush flowers.

Red-Spotted Purple Butterfly, Snellville, Georgia, October 7, 2014

Red-Spotted Purple Butterfly, Snellville, Georgia, October 7, 2014

Also getting re-energized at the Buddleja bush was a Red-Spotted Purple Butterfly (Limenitis arthemis).  I had seen this butterfly (I will assume that it is the same one) a few days ago, but when I went to get my camera and returned to take some pictures, it was already gone.  So, I was delighted to see it again and take my opportunity to photograph it.

Red-Spotted Purple Butterfly at Rest, Snellville, Georgia, October 7, 2014

Red-Spotted Purple Butterfly at Rest, Snellville, Georgia, October 7, 2014

There were also several Skippers, Sulphurs, and Fritillaries flying about yesterday, as well.  While they were too quick for me to get any pictures of them, it was great to get some photos of the Monarchs and Purple.  It was definitely The Festival of the Butterflies here yesterday! 🙂

 

Tiger and Skippers (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)

Silver-Spotted Skipper, Snellville, Georgia, August 13, 2014

Silver-Spotted Skipper, Snellville, Georgia, August 13, 2014

Probably the greatest number of butterflies that I have observed during the entire summer, I have seen in the past couple of days.  There are Tiger Swallowtails, Female Black Form Tiger Swallowtails, Silver-Spotted Skippers, and Orange Skippers flying about.  They all enjoy drinking the nectar from the many garden flowers in our yard.

Tiger Swallowtail, Snellville, Georgia, August 12, 2014

Tiger Swallowtail, Snellville, Georgia, August 12, 2014

While trying not to become dinner for the prevalent mosquito population, I snapped only a few pictures of the Tiger Swallowtail and two Silver-Spotted Skippers.  At one point while photographing the Tiger, there were three mosquitos on my legs, so I only got a couple of good photos of the butterfly.  Enjoy!

Female Black Form, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)

Eastern Black Swallowtail female in black form, July 10, 2014, Snellville, Georgia

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Female in Black Form, July 10, 2014, Snellville, Georgia

It has been so hot and dry here in the South this year that plants are withering away and tree roots are reaching toward the earth’s surface for any hint of water.  It has also been noticeably difficult for birds, butterflies, bees, and insects due to the lack of water, as I have seen relatively few of them this summer in comparison to past years.  There has been some rain and a few showers, but the heat dries up the rain and moisture very quickly.

Female Eastern Black Swallowtail Butterfly in Black Form on Star Gazer Lily, Snellville, Georgia, July 10, 2014

Female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly in Black Form on Star Gazer Lily, Snellville, Georgia, July 10, 2014

Due to these conditions, I was happy to see one female Eastern Black Swallowtail Butterfly in black form last week.  She was getting nectar from several Star Gazer Lilies.  It appeared that she had recently hatched from her chrysallis and was still heavy with unlaid eggs.  She was a beauty!

“First Butterfly of the Year Spotted, 2014: Eastern Tailed Blue” (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)

Eastern Tailed Blue, 2007, Retrieved from www.proactiveassistance.net  on March 12, 2014

Eastern Tailed Blue, 2007, Retrieved from http://www.proactiveassistance.net on March 12, 2014

On March 11, 2014, I saw the first butterfly of the year of 2014 in my area around Atlanta, Georgia. It was an Eastern tailed blue butterfly, Cupido comyntas.  The outdoor temperature reached at least 75 degrees Fahrenheit; and the butterfly was flittering around, casually, through the air.

Eastern Tailed Blue, 2011, Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_Tailed-Blue on March 12, 2014

Eastern Tailed Blue, 2011, Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_Tailed-Blue on March 12, 2014

On the evening of March 10, 2014, having been another warm day, I also saw the first moth of the year, a small, common wood moth.  Both the butterfly and the moth flew right past me, bringing a smile to my face.  Spring has arrived, although the approaching freezing temperatures due to the winter blizzard being experienced in the North will put a damper on the flowering and budding for awhile yet.

“Autumn Painted Lady” (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)

Painted Lady Butterfly, November 6, 2013, Snellville, Georgia

Painted Lady Butterfly, November 6, 2013, Snellville, Georgia

While outside, enjoying the beautiful weather yesterday in my area around Atlanta, Georgia, I pleasantly observed three Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) butterflies flying about the yard.  I was able to photograph one of them by getting a few feet away from it, and not scaring it away.  One of the butterfly’s hind wings was damaged – as seen in the above photo – but that did not appear to hinder its flying abilities.  The temperature in my area was 75 degrees Fahrenheit, and it was a balmy fall afternoon.  I’d say the day was quite enjoyable for the butterflies, too!

“Eastern Black Swallowtail Caterpillar” (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)

Eastern Black Swallowtail Caterpillar, September 23, 2013, Snellville, Georgia

Eastern Black Swallowtail Caterpillar, September 23, 2013, Snellville, Georgia

In our garden this week, we noticed several Eastern Black Swallowtail caterpillars (Papilio polyxenes).  They are beautiful!  I counted one dozen of them feeding on the parsley plants in our garden.  And, with one dozen of them eating those plants, their food supply is diminishing quickly!

Eastern Black Swallowtail Caterpillar, September 23, 2013, Snellville, Georgia

Eastern Black Swallowtail Caterpillar, September 23, 2013, Snellville, Georgia

At first upon seeing these caterpillars, I thought they might be those of the Anise Swallowtail, however I have never seen that type of swallowtail in the eastern part of the United States.  The Eastern Black Swallowtail caterpillar, however, is quite similar to the Anise Swallowtail caterpillar (Papilio zelicaon), and can be easily deceiving in potentially confusing them with each other.

Eastern Black Swallowtail Caterpillars, September 23, 2013, Snellville, Georgia

Eastern Black Swallowtail Caterpillars, September 23, 2013, Snellville, Georgia

I am thrilled to have observed and photographed these caterpillars this week on our parsley plants, especially because birds, spiders, and/or wasps often prey on various caterpillars in our yard before they become adult butterflies or moths.  It was a real treat for my family to see and enjoy these lovely specimens!

Peacock Butterfly.

The photo of this Peacock Butterfly is amazing! I love it! Thank you for posting it. 🙂

The Wilden Marsh Blog

Sunrise: 05.43 am   Sunset: 09.09 pm

I stretched to my limit over a thick bramble bush to get this image. Moving closer and closer, hoping it wouldn’t fly away, the peacock slowly filled my viewfinder. I resisted the temptation to act before I was ready. This would be a one shot opportunity, I knew that! My flash would surely send the butterfly into the air. I struggled to keep my balance, and the camera steady. Holding my breath, the auto-focus beeped, I pressed the button, saw the flash, and promptly collapsed into the bramble bush.

Was the image worth the effort? Well, I achieved what I had set out to do, I was not able to alter camera settings, and it was an extreme shot. Under better circumstances, I could have done better! Another second and I would have shaken too much to get an auto-focus lock, and I…

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Small Tortoiseshell

Check out this beautiful Tortoiseshell Butterfly!

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This is a butterfly we’ve taken for granted. The Small TortoiseshellAglais urticae was once one of our most familiar and numerous garden visitors. Sadly it is no longer as common as it once was. In recent years, particularly in the south it has declined, possibly due to predation by the parasitic fly Sturmia bella. Somehow our buddleia bushes just don’t look quite the same without these butterflies nectaring on every other mauve, orange-centred flower head. But, let’s not get overly maudlin. Instead let’s reflect on what a stunning little insect this still is. Gorgeous orange set off with deft little touches of black, dabs of yellow and white, ringed with a necklace of brilliant turquoise. What’s not to like?

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