Black Swallowtail on Monarda
Yesterday Judy and I went out to take pictures in the garden when I spotted a black swallowtail butterfly nectaring on the ‘Raspberry Wine’ Monarda (Monarda didyma).
The sighting was a notable event, given the scarcity of butterflies in the garden during the last couple of years. So Judy spent some time trying to capture it on film. She was a little hyperactive, so it wasn’t easy. UPDATE: The buttefly, I mean, not Judy. Sorry, Judy.
This was a female, which gives me hope there may be swallowtail eggs among the dill, fennel, and parsley plants in the Edibles and Cutting Bed. Black swallowtails use members of the parsley family as host plants for their caterpillars – they also like carrots, celery, and Queen Anne’s lace.
This individual looked a lot more robust than the last swallowtail we saw, in early June, which was nectaring on pansies in the back garden. Although today’s did seem to be missing one antenna.
Butterflies remain scarce in the garden this year, though there are definitely more than last year. I have also seen single monarchs, sulphurs and red admirals with some frequency, though never more than one at a time. We haven’t gotten any pictures this year, though.
There is also a small light blue butterfly, which is often hovering about the New Jersey Tea (Ceanothus americanus). I think this is a spring or summer azure. Again, no pictures yet. Plus there are usually skippers and cabbage whites around.
What butterflies are you seeing in your garden?