The Daily Bucket is a place to catch your casual observations of the natural world and turn them into a valuable resource. Whether it's the first flowers of spring or that odd bug in your basement, don't be afraid to toss your thoughts into the bucket. Check here for a more complete description.
July 1-7, 2012
Backyard butterfly weekly list. Number indicates the number of days sighted. Names in bold represent new sightings for the year.
Well, I took a week off to visit my brother's family in the great state of Michigan. The dominant wildlife there seemed to be Japanese Beetles and Poison Ivy. I'm back in Nebraska, with observations for last week and even a few pictures. I got back late Sunday, but had Monday off and spent all morning working in the yard. Monday was a pretty good day, with eight butterfly species recorded and the first Peck's Skipper(Polites peckius) of the year. The only decent photo I got was an American Lady(Vaness virginiensis, pictured left) IT is nice to have American Ladies as a new visitor to the yard, but all the individuals I have seen this year have been fairly ragged and I have yet to get a shot of one with its wings spread. I also recorded the second Snout(Libytheana carinenta) of the year on Monday. It's an unusual butterfly as it is more associated with woodlands, but I seem to be seeing more of them this year, in my yard and elsewhere.
I had a bit of a surprise on Thursday. I had worked late and didn't get home until the entire yard was in shade. There is usually not much activity then, but I was looking out the back window and saw a dragonfly perched on a window ledge outside my garage. I went outside to get a picture and recorded my first Hummingbird Clearwing Moth(Hemaris thysbe, pictured right) of the year. It was in shadow and my camera automatically adjusts shutter speed based on available light, and because Hummingbird Clearwings rarely stop moving, the photos all came out on the blurry side. But it was such a beautiful specimen that I think they're worth keeping.
This week I also had the first recorded sightings of Black Swallowtails(Papilio polyxenes) for the year. The first was on Monday and was just a fly-by, but yesterday I caught one feeding at the Butterfly Bush(pictured left). Still haven't noticed any caterpillars on the dill, but I'm sure that will be coming.
I'm a bit surprised I am not seeing any Silver-spotted skippers, but the Grass Skippers are plentiful. So far, the only ones I've managed to photograph have been Sachems(Atalopedes campestris). Sachems are fun to watch as pairs, and sometimes trios, flit about the yard displaying their courtship behavior. In the image above the fold you can see a male(on the left) pursuing a female.
So, what are you seeing in your area?