Butterflies of Summer

The heat has slowed my gardening to the bare minimums – watering and deadheading. But these tasks bring many opportunities to observe butterflies that visit my Connecticut gardens each summer.

Little physical effort is needed to set up the camera to grab shots of the colorful flutterers that float gently from blossom to blossom. Common coneflowers – Echinacea purpurea – are butterfly magnets.

Fritillary butterflies were the first of the showy butterflies to visit.


I suspect this is a Great Spangled Fritillary.


But common ordinary coneflowers draw all kinds of pollinators – many types of bees, small flies, other butterflies and moths. In my gardens, coneflowers are the Grand Central Station for pollinators.


These skippers? – at least I think they are some sort of skipper – rarely sit still long enough for the camera to catch a focused image. This is as close as I came in many attempts.

A few self-seeded coneflowers captured the attention of an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail.


It repeatedly chose these coneflowers over any other flower blooming nearby.


A still-illusive-to-my-camera flutterer visited these fragrant Oriental lilies (unknown variety).


The busy black butterfly – possibly a black swallowtail – was happy to be viewed from afar but seemed determined to keep it’s beautiful wings away from the camera lens.

If I’m successful in capturing a digital image of this illusive visitor I’ll identify and learn more about it using my go-to butterfly and moth website, Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA). This site allows amateur butterfly watchers peruse multiple photos, track butterfly sightings, submit photos and sightings, and generally learn more about these amazing creatures.

Spells of hot, humid weather may minimize ones desire to actively garden, but this is okay … at times we need to slow our pace and enjoy the gardens’ wonders.

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4 comments for “Butterflies of Summer

  1. July 22, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    Your photos are lovely. I recently wanted to catch some butterflies on my own coneflowers. No cooperation! I ended up with photos without butterflies. You are so right about summer being a good time to just enjoy the garden.

    • July 22, 2013 at 7:51 pm

      Deb, I set my camera up on a tripod, frame my shot, get my focus, then wait patiently … without moving much. It seems to work … this and using the zoom feature so I can set up far enough away so as not to spook the fluttering visitors.

  2. July 23, 2013 at 10:56 pm

    Beautiful visitors in your garden, even if some are camera shy. Our wet spring seemed to encourage lots of butterflies this season, and more dragonflies than I have ever seen before! They all fascinate me.

    • July 24, 2013 at 6:50 am

      Laurrie, I agree that watching all the pollinating creatures is one of the joys of gardening!

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