Garden visitors 2013

As a quick look back to the previous butterfly season, this post is wrapping up the sightings made straight in our garden during summer 2013.

We didn’t see too much of an effort to attract butterflies that summer. With my wife being pregnant and our twin boys soon to be born, we had other priorities. The flowers I seeded in late spring didn’t do too well either and probably were not the most lucrative nectar source for insects.

Luckily, we managed to get some visitors though. The highlight, showing up in our garden by coincidence on a rainy day (looking for shelter instead of food), was a Map (Araschnia levana). This was the first sighting I ever made of that species, and I was happy to get a close look because the individual was resting.

The only “working” flower in our garden was a Dense Blazing Star (Liatris spicata). This flower, known to attract many butterflies and moths, didn’t let us down. Blossoming late summer, it served the Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae), Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) and many Silver Y’s (Autographa gamma).

All in all, we only counted 4 different species in our garden that summer 2013. Time to rise the bar and try out some proper feeding stations, also known as butterfly bars.

I take season 2014 as a challenge, and try to come up with a strategy to attract butterflies right into our garden. And the camera will be ready.

Did you know…

The Map is a butterfly known for seasonal polymorphism. Typically flying in two generations every year, these generations look different from each other. The summer generation features plain black and white  (see photo above) whereas the spring generation additionally carries orange on its wings.

Source: Wikipedia (January 9, 2014)

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