I mentioned that I went out the other day to photograph insects at two of the local parks. It was a beautiful day to be out, but not so great for taking photos because of a constant breeze. I was hoping to find some colorful butterflies, but other than a few impossible skippers, the butterfly of the day was the cabbage white. They were everywhere, thick as thieves! The red clover and thistle seemed to be a favorite at one park, whereas the herb garden, and specifically the lavender patch, was the hot spot at the botanical park. I’d forgotten how well these butterflies like lavender since I don’t have it growing in my own garden any longer.
Anyway, while checking the pond edge for dragonflies, I came across this group of cabbage whites puddling along a damp place in the path. I’ve seen photos of swallowtails doing this – Larry has posted a few on his blog – but I’d never seen it for myself. I read tonight that it’s usually the males that do this as the minerals they collect from the soil or manure or whatever is thought to increase their breeding success.
There’s been very little butterfly activity in my own garden so far this season. The swamp milkweed is blooming and I saw my first monarch this past weekend. I’ve been checking the plants for eggs or caterpillars, but haven’t found any. There are lots of aphids and a few milkweed beetles making their living out there, though. The black swallowtail caterpillars that I posted about last week grew very fat and disappeared – I have my eyes out for a cocoon, but don’t have much hope of ever finding them.