Butterfly sighting

Aug 7 2014

Alon Coppens

Location: Town of Wheaton, 5 mi w of Chippewa Falls, Chippewa River floodplain
Chippewa County

Many Giant Swallowtails, all mint, sometimes in loose pairs possibly representing emergence of locally raised generation as prickly ash is common here. They are showing a strong preference for the nectar of swamp milkweed and thistle over boneset, vervain, clematis, etc. No clear preference of one vegetation over another for perching. They are seen in fields, over a pond, and along woodland paths. Flight generally fast and erratic, capable of covering hundreds of yards very quickly.
Monarchs also abundant here (and seen feeding and egg-laying on swamp milkweed) but far outnumbered by the Giant Swallowtails. Occasional Tiger Swallowtails, all Eastern. I did not see any Black Swallowtails today and, as in previous years, they are the least common of the three swallowtails seen here.
Great Spangled Fritillaries still seen in some numbers - mostly with wings worn or even tattered. I have looked for but not seen any other fritillary here this year.
Numbers below are estimated, rather than a formal count. Smaller butterflies also present in numbers but not identified to species level.

Giant Swallowtail

Giant Swallowtail