Butterfly watch: August 2012

Guest blogger, Brenda Van Ryswyk, Natural Heritage Ecologist at Conservation Halton, took a walk outside our admin office in Burlington and discovered our pollinator garden is getting quite popular! Here’s what she had to say about it: 

A lot of Common Ringlets are fully into their second ‘flight’ of the year (second brood). Also seen: Cabbage Whites (as usual), Common Sulphers, Orange Sulphers and some Eastern Tailed Blues, Also spotted some new species: a Tawny-edged Skipper and two Pecks Skippers. 

Eastern Tailed Blue

Pecks Skipper

 I’ve never seen the Tawny-edged Skipper and Pecks Skippers in our regeneration area before, so it’s nice to see something new. They have likely been here for a while but they are small brown guys that move quickly so are easily overlooked and hard to identify. Both of these species of small butterfly feed on grasses and in the regeneration area there are plenty of native grasses for caterpillars to feed on.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Tawny Edged Skipper

These two skippers may even benefit from the new pollinator garden. They likely would use the flowers for nectar but we also included Big and Little Bluestem in the plantings so it is possible they could lay their eggs on them and the pollinator garden will be (a part) of the source for next years generation. That is one of the reasons we chose the plants we did. We chose ones that could provide for the ENTIRE life cycle of the butterflies. Often people plant ONLY flowers in their garden, and flowers are great, they provide the much needed nectar resources for the adults BUT the caterpillars also need some food to eat (called a ‘host plant’). And if we have no caterpillars we could have no butterflies. I’ve adopted the saying “If you have no holes in your leaves you’ll have no butterflies to see.” (or something close to that….)


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