Great Egret

Great Egret

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Butterflies, butterflies.....

Butterflies are becoming quite abundant, which is a good thing since butterfly counts are not far off. Recent hikes to woodlands as well as more open areas, especially on the steady stream of warm, sunny days, has resulted in a good variety. Not all are willing to stop and pose for the camera....some are flitting past very quickly. But a few of the ones I have encountered in southern Chatham-Kent are as follows:

Spicebush Swallowtails have been out for a few weeks.
Spicebush Swallowtail

A superficially similar looking one, of which I saw my first of season individuals just recently, is the Red-spotted Purple.  It lacks the tails and has a different array of coloured markings.
Red-spotted Purple
Red-spotted Purple

Swallowtails are some of the most recognizable butterflies. The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail is fairly numerous right now.
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

The even larger, but darker, Giant Swallowtail is not nearly as abundant, but a few are out in many southwestern Ontario locales. They are particularly dependent on Common Hop-tree, which is greatly restricted to a few spots in southwestern Ontario (e.g. Pelee Island, Point Pelee, Rondeau), and Prickly Ash, which is a lot more widespread.
Giant Swallowtail

I've only seen a few Monarchs so far, but more than I did last year to this date.

Northern Crescents are probably the most abundant butterfly I've seen in the last few days. A good walk along open trails may turn up dozens.
Northern Crescent

Little Wood-Satyr is a smallish butterfly, seldom seen perched, but bouncing around in the shrubby edges of the woods.
Little Wood-Satyr

Summer Azures are small, but fairly commonly seen. A recently published paper by Schmidt and Layberry was sent to me. It has given some clarity to the Celastrina genus in Canada, although I haven't spent a lot of time digesting all the details yet. Check it out at this link.
Summer Azure

Skippers are becoming more abundant, including this Hobomok Skipper. They may be more abundant, but don't often allow for the kind of photo one wants as they are very active.
Hobomok Skipper

Yesterday, I saw my first of the season Common Buckeye. It is a southern species that does not overwinter in Ontario, but arrives from south of the border and will breed, using Plantain, Agalinis, etc. The south and westerly winds of late have likely pushed them here.
Common Buckeye
Common Buckeye
With numerous milkweeds, dogbanes, and other preferred species just beginning to flower, the butterflies will be relishing the floral banquet available to them! And they will be great spots for the butterfly photographer to check out.


  1. Common Buckeye breeds abundantly in Ontario. The preferred larval foodplant is English Plantain (Plantago lanceolata). Does not overwinter in the province, however.

    1. Correct....and now corrected in the post. Thanks, Alan.