Some days, you just need a butterfly

Was out washing the car this afternoon and saw this common buckeye making the rounds in this sweet-scented wildflower growing next to the driveway. They were a welcome distraction — especially when, during the weekends, we become obsessed with getting done those things left undone during the work week. The hose and rags got put aside for a few glorious standing-still-moments in the sunshine.  Some days, you just need a butterfly.

In a few weeks, we should be seeing the monarch butterflies sweeping through on their southward migration.  We keep a couple of patches of goldenrods for these beautiful insects to light upon as they head south. The Blonde Gardener has a nice post about being a Monarch Watch Station and a couple of posts about the monarchs’ life cycle.  Maybe next year, we’ll try the watch station idea.

Buckeye butterfly on flowers.
Common Buckeye butterfly collecting nectar.
Buckeye butterfly on tiny white flowers.
Buckeye making the rounds. The tiny white flowers are dotted with other insects seeking nectar.

Blossom world

Springtime in the Ouachitas engages every sense. Feel of the warm sun, see the vibrance of its animal and plant life, taste the honeysuckle, breathe in the fragrance of its blooms and listen to the work songs of its pollinators. Carpenter bees, bumblebees, honeybees, wasps, flies and butterflies — they were everywhere on Saturday as the mountains’ wild fruit trees’ blooms soaked in the sunshine.

ON THE EDGE - Who wouldn't want to be hanging around on fruit tree blooms on such a spring day.
IN FOR A LANDING -- Honeybee ready to land.
BUSY -- The blooms were full of flying friends.
ON THE WING -- After a week of stalking, finally captured this yellow swallowtail contrasted against the brilliant blue sky.

Dark wings

A Canadian cold front gave us a drastic change in temperatures from Sunday’s record high of 88 to this morning’s freeze warning, complete with frost in the valley.  The migrating monarchs haven’t reappeared since the mercury went south, but was no deterrent to the red-spotted purple that was flitting around the trees this morning.

FEELING BLUE -- A red spotted purple (Limenitis arthemis astyanax) lights on a wild blackberry bush.
ON THE WING -- Red-spotted purple flies to his next stop.

Monarch madness

After weeks of trying to catch a monarch in pixels, finally, finally they made it to the mountain. Maybe it was a strong headwind out of the south that prompted them to take a breather, but today the monarchs made use of the goldenrods for rest and nectar.

GOLDEN -- Migrating monarch makes a stop on the goldenrod.
PATIENCE PAYS -- Migrant monarchs make a fuel stop in the mountaintop goldenrods.
HANGING AROUND -- Resting in the sun.

The late summer blues.

March 1, 2013, UPDATE: Thanks to Dan Chaffee, who ID’d this as a red spotted purple. Will have to hunt harder!

Some days, you just get the blues, in a good way. The Diana fritillary butterfly is the state butterfly of Arkansas.


Diana Fritillary butterfly
This Diana fritillary butterfly rests in the driveway while the truck gets a bath. These beautiful blue butterflies have a rather limited range, preferring the Ozarks, Ouachitas, Appalachians and Piedmont areas. We’re glad to have them here in the Ouachitas.
Blue morning glories
Blue morning glories reach for the sun.
Diana frilliary butterfly
After chasing these butterflies for a year, finally, FINALLY, clear images. This one stuck around for hours during car washing day.