Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog

August 24, 2012

New Visitors

My butterfly bushes have been just humming with activity lately.  I mean that both figuratively and literally.  In the literal sense, the local hummingbirds and hummingbird moths have been getting their fill of nectar.  Figuratively, it is rare that I go out to the deck and not find something happily buzzing its way through the blossoms.  When I sit outside and read, I find myself distracted by the 5 or 6 little painted lady butterflies that have been making regular appearances.  I’m ashamed to admit I don’t have at least one picture of them, since I feel sure that I took some.  Oh, wait a second.  As I sit here and type, I am remembering that I changed memory cards recently, and that it is entirely possible that I never loaded the last few shots from the old memory card on to the computer.  Could it be?  Hang on a minute while I check it out, if you wouldn’t mind too much…

Painted Lady butterfly 1

A few days ago, I saw a butterfly I’d never seen on the bushes:
brown butterfly2

I’m having trouble identifying this one.  It doesn’t seem to quite match any of the butterflies I’ve found on various butterfly ID sites.  It has those blue markings like the swallowtails do, but it is not as dark or as large as the pipevine swallowtails I’ve seen in the past.  Here’s an upside-down pose that gives you a look at the underside of the wings:

brown butterfly1

Anybody with an idea about its secret identity?  While I went about taking multiple shots of my mystery butterfly, I found myself charmed by the misty look the light took on when the bushes were backlit by the late afternoon sun:
misty light butterfly

Today my abundant bushes were lucky to receive another newbie.  This one I was able to identify due to its very large size, certainly the largest butterfly I’ve seen outside of a butterfly conservatory, a giant swallowtail:

Giant Swallowtail3

I hope that the size of the blooms of a butterfly bush are known well enough to you to be able to conceive of the size of this butterfly. I was astounded to see these wings flopping around my deck.

Giant Swallowtail2

I’d say its wingspan was easily 6 inches. Here’s a look at the other side of the wings:
Giant Swallowtail1

I’ve definitely been enjoying these backyard visitors this summer.  Need some interesting winged creatures in your backyard?  Plant a butterfly bush!  And if you can help me identify my mystery butterfly, please let me know in the comments.


  1. Oh I hear marvellous things about Butterfly Bushes. I want one. Can’t wait to see what it attract next summer.

    Six inches. Oh how I wish I’d seen that.

    Comment by sybil — August 24, 2012 @ 9:14 pm | Reply

    • They are pretty vigorous plants, Sybil. They take a year or two to really get going, but after that they really take off. You should get one, I’m sure they would survive Nova Scotia winters.

      Comment by Karma — August 25, 2012 @ 8:27 am | Reply

  2. I think I’ve seen your mystery butterfly in our yard too, but I can find nothing that tells me what it is. Love your pictures, love your butterfly bushes – I tried them here, with no success. Sadness.

    Comment by Carol — August 25, 2012 @ 10:19 am | Reply

    • Thanks, Carol. I’m surprised to hear your butterfly bushes didn’t make it. They’ve always been easy growers around here.

      Comment by Karma — August 26, 2012 @ 8:24 am | Reply

  3. I wouldn’t know a thing about identifying them, but I WILL say that your photos are absolutely stunning! Wow!! 🙂

    Comment by Photo By Holly — August 27, 2012 @ 1:18 pm | Reply

  4. I’m sorry this is so late…..I’m falling hopelssly behind….
    How lucky you are to have all these butterflies in your yard (I don’t think they like the TX heat right now either 😉 ). Great captures!

    Comment by TheDailyClick — August 28, 2012 @ 5:57 am | Reply

    • No worries, Michaela. My blogging habits will be falling behind as well, now that I am back to school.
      Thank you! 🙂

      Comment by Karma — August 28, 2012 @ 3:40 pm | Reply

  5. Mine, too! It’s like all of a suddeen, the floodgates have opened and every winged insect is ravenous! Last week we were blessed by a visit of TWo hummers…the male and female ruby-throated, at our “Potters Purple” variety (a favorite). No camera in hand, alas, but it was amazing to see a PAIR together! I do hope they return.

    To extend the season, I periodically snip off the spent blossoms of my BB’s. It really helps the plant put out more and more flowers.

    WOW – that large butterfly must have been amazing! My best guess of the mystery butterfly is a Red-Spotted Purple (http://www.northrup.org/photos/red-spotted-purple/)

    Comment by milkayphoto — August 28, 2012 @ 9:39 am | Reply

    • Yes, that does look very much like the butterfly I saw. Thanks for the ID!

      Comment by Karma — August 28, 2012 @ 3:40 pm | Reply

  6. Gorgeous, gorgeous images, Karma. I love that misty look to the light, too. M just planted a butterfly bush near our wildflower meadow, but the butterflies don’t seem to have located it yet. Maybe next year. 🙂

    Comment by Robin — August 28, 2012 @ 11:21 am | Reply

    • Thank you very much Robin. Yes, I do think it takes the butterflies some time to find it – a first year butterfly bush I imagine would be a little on the smaller side.

      Comment by Karma — August 28, 2012 @ 3:42 pm | Reply

  7. Really pretty. We’ve planted a couple of butterfly bushes. All died. But this summer we planted another and so far so good! 🙂 My blog host guy had his server crash…so I’m starting over…at dawnkinster.wordpress.com I had your end of the earth post almost done, but will recreate it this week at the new address. Sigh….

    Comment by Dawn — August 28, 2012 @ 11:12 pm | Reply

    • Thank you Dawn. Sorry to here about your server issues! Hope all is well as I am typing this comment!

      Comment by Karma — August 31, 2012 @ 1:42 pm | Reply

  8. Eureka! It’s butterfly heaven, Karma. 🙂

    Comment by Kathy — August 29, 2012 @ 4:25 pm | Reply

    • It really is, Kathy! There’s always a winged cutie fluttering around until they begin their migration to warmer climes.

      Comment by Karma — August 31, 2012 @ 1:43 pm | Reply

  9. I was sure I could identify your mystery butterfly, but paged through my field guide three times and got nothing. Only then did it occur to me that I was looking at a Michigan book and you might very well not be in Michigan! Anyhow, your photos are beautiful, so I’m happy I chanced across your blog. Enjoy the weekend Karen!

    Comment by Sid Dunnebacke — September 1, 2012 @ 5:13 pm | Reply

    • Thank you Sid, and thanks for stopping by. Indeed, I am in Massachusetts, not Michigan. One wouldn’t think our butterflies would be that different here though! I have a comment above from someone who believes my mystery butterfly is a “red spotted purple” – one I’ve never heard of before, but the photo on the website looks pretty close. Thanks again, and I hope you enjoy your weekend too.

      Comment by Karma — September 1, 2012 @ 7:34 pm | Reply

  10. Karen the butterfly pictures are incredible. Its like I could pick one right off the page! The color of the flowers is so pretty too..so vibrant.

    Comment by trish49 — September 1, 2012 @ 6:03 pm | Reply

    • Thank you – those butterfly bushes bring great photo opportunities! 🙂

      Comment by Karma — September 1, 2012 @ 7:35 pm | Reply

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