Saturday, March 10, 2012

Flower Hill Farm BUTTERFLIES OF 2011 ~ Sulphurs and Whites


Orange Sulphur on Aster

We now enter the family Pieridae, of fluttering Whites and Sulphurs, found in the gardens and fields here at Flower Hill Farm over the last few years. 
Orange sulphur Colias eurytheme and Clouded Sulphur Colias philodice, can be confusing to identify, but not to the female Orange sulphur butterflies, who are attracted to the ultraviolet in the male Orange sulphur upper wings. 
I enjoy these bright buttery and paler butterflies mostly in mid to late summer and fall, though their flight may begin as early as May. 
The Orange sulphur and Clouded Sulphur female butterflies will lay a single, yellow-white morphing into deep red, egg on numerous legumes but prefer alfalfa, vetches, and white clovers. It seems the Orange sulphur caterpillars enjoy dining mostly in the dark. One would have to enter the meadows towards evening . . .  to see the caterpillars wearing green and white-striped pjs munching their leafy legume supper. 
Both Orange and Clouded Sulphurs overwinter in their chrysalis forms.

Orange or Clouded on Vetch
Clouded Sulphur on Aster
Clouded Sulphurs flutter though these images of the south field . . . full of New England Asters.

There is always a great chase scene in every good story.


The Cabbage White Pieris rapae, and I share a common delight. We both love Brassicas. Planting peppergrass and mustards may encourage the female to fasten her yellow-green eggs on a more diverse group of delicious plants, so there will be enough to go around. 
Unfortunately the green and yellow-striped caterpillar is blamed . . .  and I guess rightfully so . . . for much agricultural damage. Poisons have not worked but only brought more angst to the human community. 
Cabbage Whites overwinter in their chrysalis stage. 
Introduced to Canada from Eurasia in the eighteen hundreds it may also have caused the decline of other native Whites. 


Spring is still harnessed and held back by winters frosty grip out in our New England gardens and landscapes, but the Smith College Bulb show is on, giving all a whiff and whirl of what is soon to be set free. These photographs from last March are as close as I have been able to get this year . . . so far. 



Bluebirds are giving a 'wing up' to our new birdhouses!! 
Snow is melting and next week will be in the high 50's and even 60's! 
Snowdrops are still perky after the heavy carpet of snow . . .  I thought surely had crushed them. 
Ah, to be so supple!
I have seen a few dead honeybees caught out in the cold after the warmer days last week. The Monarch Butterflies are leaving Mexico!

I am late for my flight to Sweden and Katarina's charming world. I am happy to share my garden jewels today!

From the fragile wings to beasts . . . you can see my latest piece on the Eastern Coyote from my Bestiary over at Native Plants and Wildlife Gardens. But beware . . . it is a chilling tale.



19 comments:

Donna@Gardens Eye View said...

Carol, I love these dainty butterflies in my garden sometimes missed because they are dwarfed by their larger friends. Those bulb displays are amazing...I can just smell them...we had more snow but we are due for the same warm up starting tomorrow...spring here we come!!

Laila said...

Lovely photos of fascinating creatures! I especially like the olive green ones. But I would probably take another standpoint if I were a farmer in your neighbourhood...
Even in our garden spring is held back - but Flower shows are already being held. Unfortunately I have been down with the flu so I missed this weekend's Garden fair in Stockholm.
Have a nice weekend! Kram/Laila

Country Gal said...

Fantastic photos ! Looks like we like photographing the same things lol . Have a good day !

sandy said...

I am summersick!

These little fuzzy little guys are some of my favorites. They are always around, and so often overlooked for the showier butterflies.

FlowerLady said...

Dear Carol ~ I am always in awe of your wonderful photography. These shots of the two types of butterflies are exquisite.

Pretty soon spring will be there for you.

It is warm and humid down here.

Have a lovely weekend ~ FlowerLady

Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Hello Carol:
The beautifully complementary colours of the Orange Sulphur Butterflies and the Asters are just marvellous. You have captured them brilliantly here! It really looks as if they were 'made' for each other, of course, it is we are sure all part of Nature's Grand Plan!!

We too seem to have had a false start to Spring here in Budapest but temperatures are now at last beginning to warm up. Your pictures from Smith College of the bulb display last year are so uplifting and joyous, we do so hope that you will be able to get there and enjoy this year's Spring Festival before the show is over.

How exciting to think that the Monarch Butterflies may be on the wing and on the way to you. We are sure that you await their arrival with eager anticipation!!

Kathy Sturr said...

Wonderful! I always see these first in the garden. I knew there was a reason I left a patch of vetch! Warmer temperatures beginning tomorrow. I'll have to start walking the garden everyday. Safe travels.

Katarina said...

And I'm so pleased that you are sharing them with us, dear Carol!
Kram!

Randy Emmitt said...

Carol,
Love these Orange Sulphur photos, the females with the little glowing though is really something. Those spring flowers in mass make beautiful photos.

Charlotte said...

Carol,
Lovely photographs as always. So enjoy your blog - it always brings sunshine!
Charlotte

sweetbay said...

Beautiful photos! The green eyes of those sulfurs are amazing. The White Cabbages are most noticeable here in early spring and we get clouds of Sulfurs in the fall.

david wofford said...

I really love these sulphur butterflies consuming nectar on Asters. Very colorful and vibrant. They are so pleasing to the eyes. Your pics are very clear and nice. Hope to see more butterfly pictures from your posts.

David Wofford
Just click here for how to attract butterflies and butterfly flowers

david wofford said...

I really love these sulphur butterflies consuming nectar on Asters. Very colorful and vibrant. They are so pleasing to the eyes. Your pics are very clear and nice. Hope to see more butterfly pictures from your posts.

David Wofford
Just click here for how to attract butterflies and butterfly flowers

Eva said...

As I scroll down your amazing entry, I am having a dialogue with you. And here I am at the end with so many thoughts and impressions. It's pretty hopeless to try to say it all. So I will just say thank you for the education. Thank you for the beauty. The first assemblage just had me immobile . . . thinking of the most delicate of evening gowns. (Or flower fairies.) I loved your "whiff and whirl" comment. And, yes, I needed another prompting to get the bluebird house up. If it's too late for this year, maybe word will spread for next year.

flo said...

Beautiful pictures !!!!!

Gillian Olson said...

Beautiful butterflies again, I could look at your great pictures all day! The little bluebird and spring bulbs are impressive too.

Sarah Laurence said...

We're in that same stage of late winter/early spring and looking forward to blooms. It was in the 60's over the weekend and Monday but today is cold and wet.

Carol said...

Thank you EVERYONE! I am so honored and happy that you enjoy these flitting beauties as much as I. Thank you for taking the time to share with me.

Titania said...

Hi Carol; Such a wonderful collection of butterflies. The cabbage white, always a bit dreaded, but when one sees it with your eyes it is a different matter and it is so pretty, like a "snowwhite" under the butterflies. Are you keeping these pretty pictures for a series to hang on your walls, a memory of spring and summer. It is so hard to make pictures of butterflies because they have no time to stop...enjoy a lovely spring, the bluebird is sweet. T3

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