Monday, December 2, 2013

Garden Visitors: Buttterflies Autumn 2013

I didn't start out to create a butterfly garden--it just happened.  As much as we enjoy the circle garden in the backyard it seems the butterflies appreciate it even more since the native plants which do best in that spot are also popular with the butterflies.  While we have butterflies much of the year, the fall and spring migrations bring many different species through San Antonio on their way to and from Mexico.  Are butterflies multilingual?  Maybe another discussion.

They are so much fun to watch and try to identify.  Thanks to the internet I've been working on my ID skills so I can share my itinerate visitors from the last few weeks.

Monarch left and Gulf Fritillary on the right.

Gulf Fritillary

We had up to five of the increasingly rare Monarchs in the garden at one time.  There were a few newly hatched Monarchs right before a big freeze just before Thanksgiving so I hope they made it to warmer territory.

Giant Swallowtail

A pair of Queens

Three of a kind

Fritillary, possibly a Variegated Fritillary

 Snout Butterfly

Sulphur butterflies.  I think these are Cloudless sulphurs.  Thanks to Michael of Plano Prairie Garden they have been identified as Southern Dogface Sulphurs.  The migration of Sulphur butterflies can bring huge numbers through our region in just a short time.  They seem to follow I-35 a few miles to the east so we don't get the masses experienced in some parts of town.

Bordered Patch was probably the rarest one this year.

Beautiful butterflies for what has been a beautiful autumn season.  We'll see them again as they head north next spring.  Hope they stay a while next year too.


  1. Oh, so lovely. I miss the butterflies. Obviously, you have the perfect environment for them--whether you planned for a butterfly garden or not. :)

  2. A stunning collection of photographs.

  3. Shirley, you have pretty collection of butterflies. I love your pictures of Queens, they are so graceful.
    Happy December!

  4. You got your butterfly garden the way you should: You planted what you like and what they like, without a big ol' list, I'd guess, and they came. Beautiful.

    1. The whole idea was worked as I went along and the plant list was basically observation of what worked in other local gardens. The butterflies did the rest.

  5. Your garden is certainly getting a lot of attention from just the right kind of visitor. I'm always delighted whenever I see a butterfly in my garden. I'm not getting near the number you are but there are definitely more than last year. I'm crediting the Senna bicapsularis for the sulphur butterflies - its a larval host plant.

  6. Shirley, you took some nice butterfly photos. Not always an easy task. It is fun watching butterflies in the garden. Your Sulphurs may be Southern Dogface. The lighter yellow pattern on the top wing is supposed to look like a dog's head.

    1. Thank you Michael, it didn't look exactly like any of the sulphurs I found and Southern Dogface didn't show up in my searches.

  7. Oh Shirley how beautiful...the butterflies obviously just love your garden and so do i.


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