This is butterfly season

In my garden it's peak butterfly time, which means it's peak butterfly photo time on this blog. Besides, we're having a late-season heatwave and it's just too hot to do other stuff in the yard -- unless you like reading posts about watering? That would actually be an easy post: "I turned on the hose and walked around for an hour or more, depending on the time of day and when I last watered."


So today it's more butterflies. Mainly common ones like this Silver-spotted skipper. There are probably a half-dozen of these in my view at all times (when I'm around the blooming plants).

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The plant that is really attracting them this year is the Liatris aspera, or "rough blazing star":


This is a fantastic late-season bloomer that is much more impressive than the more common Liatris spicata or "gayfeather". The blooms get pretty crowded when they open:




Butterflies aren't the only ones that love these blooms. Bees do to, and some less-welcome critters too:

You're not supposed to EAT the blooms!

The skippers are super-common right now, with the little guys on seemingly everything:


It's so difficult to tell these small butterflies apart, but I think this next one is a Peck's Skipper:


While this one is a Fiery Skipper:


This one is so drab, with no real markings at all that I can see -- they've probably faded -- I'm not sure what it could be. I'm going to take a guess and say it's probably a cloudywing of some sort, maybe a Southern Cloudywing?  If anybody knows, please let me know in the comments!



I still don't understand how buterflies can steer their tongues. Rolling up and straightening I think I understand, but how do they flex them sideways?



I'm going to have to do some research on butterfly physiology I think.

From the common we move to a much more rare visitor:


This is a Red-spotted Purple. It looks a bit like the black swallowtails and a few other species that I see, because they all mimic the Pipevine Swallowtail, which is distasteful to birds.


It was great seeing something different, and it was especially nice that it flew into my garage and landed on the edge of the work table for easy photographing. Thanks little guy!

At first I thought this was a more rare butterfly too:


But then I realized that it is most likely just a male Black Swallowtail. At least that's what it seems like when I consulted my reference books.



That's okay though, because I welcome the common butterflies along with the rare ones. They make the late-summer garden such a nice place to be I think. Don't you agree?

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Janet  – (September 3, 2011 at 8:37 AM)  

I'd much rather see your butterfly photos than read about watering!

Sylvanna  – (September 3, 2011 at 9:20 AM)  

How strange that I've enjoyed skippers my whole life and never knew what they were called.

Gerhard Bock  – (September 3, 2011 at 9:58 AM)  

Nobody does macro photography like you do. Stunning photos!

:: Bamboo and More ::

. . . Lisa and Robb . . .  – (September 4, 2011 at 12:28 AM)  

I'm impressed with anyone who can identify skippers. They're so confusing.

Alan @ It's not work, It's gardening!  – (September 4, 2011 at 7:19 AM)  

If you like butterflies even a little bit, you should definitely get the Kaufman "Butterflies of North America". It's my go-to book for butterfly ID.

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