You all know about the no-good, very bad year – 2011. Pitiful amounts of rain resulted in very few blooms. Very few blooms meant no food for traveling butterflies.
Over the winter months, however, we have had rain, and lots of it. The trees, grasses and wildflowers are rejoicing, and putting on a great show of life. And like old friends we haven’t seen in awhile, butterflies have come a-visiting.
|Red admiral. The picture isn't upside down, the butterfly is!|
According to Greta Ajjilvsgi in Butterfly Gardening for the South, “the Red Admiral is one of the best known and most widespread butterflies.” Its larval food plants are nettles. It spends time on the ground at moist places (hence its presence on my driveway), and rests on vertical surfaces with its head down. It feeds on sap, fruit and animal droppings, along with various flowers.
Yesterday, I went out to snap pictures, thinking these fellows were sipping nectar from a large patch of prairie verbenas. They were, but really they were more interested in the blooms of the nearby Texas persimmons (which have a heavenly scent, by the way).
In the process of documenting the red admiral invasion, I discovered other butterflies visiting, also: painted ladies, (Vanessa cardui) Checkered skipper (Pyrgus communis), and other unidentified ones. Oddly enough, butterflies don’t hold still for my camera like flowers will.
Butterflies make me happy. Sounds sappy and cutesy, I know, but I can’t help it. They make me smile.
Welcome home, old and new friends. My outlook is sunnier for your presence!