Sorry, Red squirrel, even if you do make it into the squirrel feeder later you need to take a step back (or run and a jump in your case) and give other garden wildlife a chance to shine today. Yes, you gave me your most funny face yet, yesterday. I know. I got photos too. You watched me take them. Perhaps if you had drunk out of the small pond waterfall trickle when I was inside at my window, where the camera was, instead of creeping up behind me when I was a few feet away making it easier for you to access your feeder… just saying 😉
Back at the beginning of October it was the Painted lady I was following with my camera. Yes, there were more than the usual numbers of Peacock and Red admiral butterflies then too, but there was just something about the Painted lady that drew me more. Although the weather then saw winds, there were plenty warm sunny days and the butterflies fed well on Verbena bonariensis! Yes, these plants really earned their garden border space this year 🙂
OCT 2: Peacock butterfly with tatty, worn wings feeding on verbena bonariensis.
One of many October blue skies and sunny days for butterfly sightings 🙂
OCT 2: Red admiral butterfly in partial shade of border plants.
Plant supports helped keep stems of verbena bonariensis up after winds.
OCT 2: Red Admiral and Peacock butterflies navigated the blowing stems.
Tricky to ID when early morning sunlight lights through their wings.
Photographing butterflies is tricky at the best of times, but with considerable plant growth in the borders in October there was much in the way to even see them, without winds. It was fortunate for me that at this time there was seldom just one butterfly, so their movement through the plants caught my attention.
Where worryingly other bloggers reported poor numbers of butterflies this year, we were certainly very lucky here. I’m not saying we had huge numbers, but it was best collection for a few years. They were a joy to see and the draw to stand outdoors with a camera was difficult to shake.
Migrating butterflies like the Painted lady butterflies are long gone. Now, in the first few days of December, our temps are cooling with each day and decorations for Christmas are coming out. I’d like to share what decorated my sunny front garden back in the first few days of October and my last garden butterfly records of the Painted Lady for 2016. She was the last to leave this year 🙂
OCT 4: Painted lady feeding on shorter Verbena bonariensis ‘Lollipop’.
The orange of the background Californian poppies highlight her orange shades.
OCT 4: Painted lady feeding on lavender, very well camouflaged.
Only when it moved did I notice it there, I’ve never seen this before 🙂
OCT 4: Painted lady resting on the white rose, Silver Anniversary.
I’d never associate this delicate butterfly with a rose or cotoneaster berries.
OCT 4: Painted lady feeding on lavender, again and again it fed here.
This is what drew me outdoors to stand with my camera 🙂
OCT 4: New – butterflies feeding on lavender not something previously seen.
This high, path strip was a serious buzz of bees back in October 🙂
OCT 4: Close views like this were only possible due to raising the border edge.
This was a deliberate height of planting for feeding bees and photography 🙂
OCT 4: The lavender swayed back and forth, I loved the blurred purple.
It was hard to see where the Painted lady was at times, fun though 🙂
OCT 4: Painted lady demonstrating it’s the small flowers of the lavender
that make this plant such a great food source for pollinating insects 🙂
Mmm… tasty food sources… I guess this weekend I’ll need to give some serious thought to menus for over the Christmas period. It’s too early for decorations in this household but ok, you’ve twisted my arm… I’ll end with a splash of seasonal, garden red…
DEC 1: Red squirrel record shot from yesterday. I kid you not, as I uploaded this image the red squirrel has returned and is currently outside my window feeding again! It has also jumped on the roof of the squirrel feeder… getting warmer 🙂
This post was published by Shirley for shirls gardenwatch in December 2016.