Saturday, September 18, 2010

If These Are Bees... They're Taking a Hit at Chez Shady!

I've been enamored by the number of butterflies seen everywhere, lately. In fact, as I stood looking out my kitchen window yesterday, I saw what I thought were a dozen or so Monarchs fluttering and landing in the Sunny Corner Bed.

So, out came the trusty camera. On went my scuffy garden shoes. And out the door I went.

Look what I found! A Monarch and a Red Spotted Purple (right?). Believe it or not, I didn't even notice the floating cadavers in the hummingbird feeder, so intent was I in capturing the butterflies on camera! (If you can stand the sight of the "floaters," click for a nice large image of each photo!)

Trying to catch them in action.

And attempting to get yet a better photo!

It wasn't until I had finished that I noticed the poor floaters. The butterflies had had enough of my hanging around and left. So I took the feeder down and went back to the house. I considered myself fortunate to have extra hummingbird food on hand in the refrigerator.

Back in the kitchen, as I was washing and refilling the hummingbird feeder, what should I notice . . . but a humongous spider hanging outside the window!

And he was struggling a bit with another one of those ... bees?

Great looking specimen, don't you think?

A "blue bird day!"

It seems these "bees" are having quite a time here.


Randy Emmitt said...


Not a Monarch! Both butterflies are related hence the same behavior. You have a Viceroy and Red-spotted Purple. I also have seen Painted ladies and Cloudless Sulphurs on hummingbird feeders.

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

What pretty butterflies! I've never seen any on a hummingbird feeder before.
We have lots of spiders around right now. I have to walk waving my arm or a stick so I don't walk through them, yuck! I've noticed honeybees in a couple of the webs lately.

troutbirder said...

Well at least the butterflies were ok. Spiders and bees can make me nervous. :)

Gail said...

Those tiny waists make me think they are wasps! Not sure what roll they play in the circle of life, but clearly they are food for clever spiders! gail

Shady Gardener said...

Oh, Randy! I'm hopeless!!! Isn't that funny? I've been watching for Monarchs all summer (their numbers are down, I'm told). But I'm glad I was right about the RSP ID! I truly was struck by the wing similarities - in that the RSP looked like a little shadow of the Viceroy!

And now that I've looked up Viceroy, it truly is one!! Thanks, Randy! :-)

You can't help me with the Bee-ID?

Hi Catherine,
I carry a "big stick" around here, when I'm walking through the trees, etc. outdoors. Spider webs are all over! ;-)

Troutbirder, Baron would protect you! lol

Hi Gail, I've wondered about that myself... perhaps someone will offer an ID.

shirl said...

Can't help on the bee ID, Shady. Love the butterflies at your feeder but wow what shots of the spider... what a beauty. Wouldn't like it falling on my head though ;-)

Shady Gardener said...

Hi Shirl, I'm with you on that one! I kept my personal distance while taking the photos. ha!

Ashley in Nebraska said...

The unfortunate one caught in the spider's web looks like a cicada killer wasp.

Diana (Di) said...

Hi SG, lovely butterflies that do love the sweetness? Unfortunately it seems our weather has turned to fall! already - rain and cool nights - and our beautiful specimens are no where to be seen.

Have a wonderful week.

Rosey said...

Wasn't it great of Randy to ID those butterflies for you? His knowledge of insects etc. is vast!

I love the photos of the butterflies on the feeder! The spider is another story. I know they are great for pest control, but I have a terrible phobia of them. They are fine in the garden and I won't kill them outside.

catmint said...

great photos, thanks, I love the spider one in particular.

joey said...

A fun sighting, dear Shady, but then you've provided a refreshing oasis. Now, about that spider ...

Rosemary said...

Quite the adventure even in your own backyard.

Shady Gardener said...

Hi Ashley, I think you're close. I'm sure they're wasps, but they're not as large as cicada killers.

Di, Our weather is turning cooler, too. I guess it's mid-September, after all. Hopefully we have a nice long Autumn. :-)

Hi Rosey, We can definitely be thankful Randy is so willing to help us! :-)

Yes, a spider in the house is definitely misplaced. ha!

Hi Catmint, Thank you. :-)

Joey, we just want to keep those oases nearby, right? Now that spider... if he's catching wasps, so be it! :-)

Rosemary, :-)

ShySongbird said...

What beautiful butterflies! So exotic looking, much different to the ones we see here.

That is a spider and a half!! Great photos of it too :)

Shady Gardener said...

Hi Shysongbird! I truly enjoy your photos for that very reason. What diversity in this world of ours!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Shady, You've got some great garden visitors although some a bit more creepy than others. :)

Kathleen said...

I love it when yellow jackets drown in my hummingbird feeders SG ~ there have been so many of them this summer it's been hard to sit outside. More power to the spiders for catching them too!
I think it's really interesting about the butterflies on the hummingbird feeder ~ I've never seen that before. I wonder if there is a similar feeder made just for them?? It makes sense they would like the sugar water like other insects.

Shady Gardener said...

Hi Grace, I read recently (in my Garden Gate magazine) that the Monarchs had quite the setback in Mexico last year. So, it's fun (even tho' this wasn't a monarch) to see them and think I may be helping them along this year (with you and everyone else).

Hi Kathleen, Thank you, thank you, thank you for the ID. Why did I not think of Yellow Jackets? The name actually makes me shiver. I've never been bothered by them, and I don't remember seeing them very often (until this time of year and in this same situation every Fall!) ha!

Just take the little port flowers off your feeders and you'll not only get butterflies, but also Baltimore Orioles! :-)

Iowa Gardening Woman said...

Great butterfly shots.

Jamie said...

I have that same type of spider on my back porch! He's been there all summer, and I let him stay. He's in a corner I don't need to get to, so I water from a distance, and let him eat as many critters as he pleases. I wish someone could ID him for us!

Shady Gardener said...

Hi IGW, Thanks for your visit. :-)

Jamie, It's really kind of pretty, and I agree that he's an active "critter catcher!" Yep! An ID would be great!

Corner Gardener Sue said...

Hi Shady,
Isn't it fun to catch live critter action? I have so many bees and wasps, but have trouble figuring out and/or remembering what kind they are.

I got the tablets. Thanks! I found that show on the internet, and plan to show some to my grandson that look like they may be near his level of understanding. He'll love the tablets when he recognizes Sid.

Shady Gardener said...

Hi Sue, I'm glad you received the tablets. :-) You're a great grandmother and are already starting his "outdoor education" in so many ways!