This is a great time for butterflies at the farm. While we were walking around with the Prairie Enthusiasts, Jeff spotted the first Giant Swallowtail of the year in East Center Valley Prairie. We saw some Milbert’s Tortoiseshell caterpillars on the nettles in 3 Finger Valley, and a Black Swallowtail caterpillar on a stalk of Queen Anne’s Lace.
Black Swallowtail caterpillar
The next day I went out to Parsnip Meadow to clip some of the parsnip that has come back after Mike mowed about a month ago. The parsnip is starting to bloom, but it’s lower and easier to deal with – I can clip without having to wear a long sleeved shirt and worry about the plants brushing my face. Common Milkweed and Swamp Milkweed are thriving.
It’s amazing how many butterflies there are on the milkweed. I never realized before how many of them use the milkweed flowers for nectaring. I saw all three swallowtails, both painted ladys, monarchs, and several other butterflies. Here are photos of some of them.
Tiger Swallowtail (female)
Fritillaries (I think they’re Aphrodite Fritillaries)
American Painted Lady
I saw this black Tiger Swallowtail (female) in 3 Finger Valley, but there was at least one on the milkweed too.
I saw Pearl/Northern Crescents on the milkweed, but this one was sitting nearby.