Welcome to austinagrodolce … My family and I garden with more intention and enthusiasm than allocated budget or overall design plan. It shows. Wildlife populations don't seem to notice our lack of cohesive design, they just like the native plants here. It seems by growing local we've thrown out a welcome mat. Occasionally, we're surprised at who (and what) shows up.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Name that Butterfly!

I had every good intention this month to participate in the Butterfly Bucket List hosted by Anna at The Transmutational Garden.  The meme, just a few months old, happens every 4th Sunday and was begun by Anna as an attempt to identify every butterfly and moth as they visit her garden spaces.

I'd been caught up in a similar endeavor on my own for over a year now, but after spending what eventually amounts to days of my life staring and scrolling through images of butterflies that look "sort of" like the one I'm trying to identify, I'd given up searching out all the names in frustration. Don't even get me started on moths or native bees or grasshoppers (or syrphid flies, or...).  I eventually decided to try and enjoy whatever shows up, identify the easy ones and allow myself to bail if a few quick search attempts didn't yield a likely suspect.

It seems as though the point of Anna's meme is to increase and disperse good information about winged visitors to our spaces.  My series of very likely MIS-identified photos to follow could actually do the opposite, increasing confusion.  And who needs more of that?  So, I hesitated.  And here it is, Monday, already.  What to do?

Well, I came to play and play I shall.  Late, insecure in the identifications, and without a shred of additional light to shed on habits or host plants. I am only going to tag one of these photos because, as already mentioned, I am reluctant to add fuel to anybody's misidentification fires.

To follow are the photos and potentially the names of several of the adorable visitors that have been dashing around the garden beds here, regardless of heat or lack of moisture.
Clouded Skipper (?) on Prairie Verbena
Fiery Skipper(?) on Verbena
Horace's Duskywing (?) on Coneflower
A different angle - Horace's Duskywing (?) on Coneflower
Queen Butterfly on Mistflower (Yippee!!!)
Sachem Skipper (?) on Coneflower
Another view, Sachem(?) Skipper

Sorry guys, I'm not even going to guess.  Something-or-other Skipper on H. Duelberg Salvia
So there you have it, a reasonable representation of the butterflies voted Most Likely to be Mistaken.  Regardless, I enjoyed watching them and trying to get capture a shot, and I hope you'll forgive the lack of information provided along with the images.

Perhaps you know what that last little cutie is called?  Or you've seen one or several of the skippers shown and can clarify as to their ID?  Please feel free to correct or speculate with your own identification attempts in the comments section.  The bar is absolutely flat on the ground already, so jump right over and let's name these butterflies!


Anna said...

Beautiful pictures and well done! I certainly can't help you with the Skippers -- I have photos of several that I'm trying to identify for myself right now. They seem to always be turned in the wrong direction or are hiding the spots that might be helpful in giving them an identity. I do think you're right on with Horace's Duskywing, though. As for your last "cutie", I haven't a clue! I really enjoyed your post, and thanks for joining in!

Jean Campbell said...

I find it very helpful tp have a guidebook written by someone in my general area. An example is the Florida butterfly book by Minno and Minno. I'm close enough to Florida that most of my butterflies are identified there.

Most of the time I just call 'em all Skippers and don't worry overly much. I'm happy to see them all.

I forget from season to season which spots distinguish a Black Swallowtail, a Spicebush and a female Tiger. Usually male Tigers will lead me to the female.

TexasDeb said...

Anna: Thank you! OK, I felt pretty good about the Horace's Duskywing myself, I appreciate the backup. Now that I'm "in" I'll be paying closer attention and potentially giving myself a more leisurely "search and identify" experience over the next few weeks. Looking forward to it, and thanks for hosting!

TexasDeb said...

Jean: Wise words all around. Males leading to females, and common things being common, yes? The guides I checked were for the most part county/city specific which at least saved me time.

Somebody commented on a blog (can't recall which one sadly) about how the dozens of tiny brown butterflies we see that all look so close alike are often referred to as LBJs, or Little Brown Jobs. I admit a fondness for the term and the way it gently admits to the folly of having to always "know". Some of the time I'm trying to simply enjoy the company, without having to fill out a name tag. (Occasionally I don't even run fetch my camera. I know, totally crazy, right!?!!! : )

Kris Peterson said...

I'm impressed that you made an effort to try to identify your visitors. I've never even tried to pin a name to the skippers in my garden. (I'll have to remember the LBJ term.) We seem to be short on butterflies this summer, at least thus far. Maybe it's the result of our odd weather.

TexasDeb said...

Kris: Occasionally I feel in the mood to solve a mystery, and what these myriad small brown butterflies are called is typically that. The news is filled with the impacts on migratory species but I can only imagine what all our weird weather is doing to all the captive audience types who are geared to stay put. Hopefully your weather will improve and the butterflies will be back!

Tina said...

Well, aren't you the brave one, jumping right in to this new and fab meme--with skippers, no less!! Skippers are tough to id. I'm sure some that you've identified in this post are ones that I id'd, completely differently. So, yeah. Next month, the challenge is on.

TexasDeb said...

Tina: Dagnabit! Really? Which ones (all of them!?!) do you think I got wrong? This inability to get ID nailed down is what first pulled me in, then drove me nuts enough to provoke an identification "cease-fire"earlier this year. I guess I "might" be too stubborn to learn to leave the identification attempts to more expert eyes.

Honestly, before this I always thought I had pretty good pattern recognition, etc. Aaaaaargh. Maybe we should do a joint post, put out the images and our best guesses (especially if they differ), and let the blossoms fall where they may? : )

Tina said...

I assumed I got them wrong! We could identify by committee, I guess. :)

TexasDeb said...

Tina, Tina, Tina... You KNOW you probably didn't get them wrong. Not all of them anyway. And yes, perhaps we should start identifying by consensus? That would be fine and dandy by me! : )

Debra said...

I am so glad you are joining in and that you even dared to take on the skippers. wow. I was nervous about joining this meme because it does feel intimidating. In too many cases the males are different from the females, regional differences can be significant and LOTS of photos found with search engines are wrong. I used to ask for help on BugGuide but I think they got swamped and may have given up. So I just decided to be nice to myself: if I can id something I will, otherwise I will just use the event as an excuse to go butterfly hunting. Nice photos btw.

TexasDeb said...

Debra: I can be a bit stubborn at times (my entire family just shrieked if you thought you heard something in the distance there). I too felt constrained from sending everything to BugGuide, and yes, there are so many mislabeled photos that come up in image searches. (That is why I'm not tagging these photos rather than contribute to more confusion.)

I did want to give it a try, this once, and we'll see if time and/or better informed contributors will substantiate (or at least correct) my guesses. Or not. : ) I did check lists for local butterflies typically seen in July/August and all these appear on the list at least. So they COULD be right. They just probably are not...

And thanks - I did have fun taking the photos and I was most definitely thinking to myself each time "oh brother, you'll never EVER figure out what that little guy is called!".