May 21, 2012

The Lilac's Insect Admirers

When I returned home yesterday afternoon, the weather was very warm and sunny, and the air was scented with lilac. I went out to cut some flowers for the house and saw fluttering and buzzing activity around the huge shrub. The most gorgeous and dramatic of the flying visitors were the swallowtail butterflies, which love lilacs.

There were other butterflies sipping from the flowers, including a gray-brown one and this black creature with bright orange stripes.

Some of the little insects were hard to capture, being too small or too quick and shy. I saw my first hummingbird moth buzzing about, with two yellow stripes at the end of its body. I did manage to capture this pretty one with variegated brownish-orange wings. 

 This was the strangest creature I captured yesterday. At first I thought it was a fuzzy bee, but look at those long legs! It might be some kind of odd moth. Life is a marvel: there I was, standing in one spot at my own home, and seeing species of insects that were entirely new to me. Discoveries never cease.


  1. Wonderful! Top down id: Canadian Tiger Swallowtail, just out of their chrysalises in time for the lilacs.
    Then, the Red Admiral, and they are EVERYWHERE this spring-- migrated north in huge numbers. (Its original name was the Red Admirable.)
    Then a skipper, a type of butterfly that is a little moth-like. this one is a Peck's Skipper.
    They are all brown, with or without marks and males and females different, so pretty confusing.
    The last one I'm not sure of; thought it might be the Snowberry Clearwing moth but I'm not positive. Did you get any other angles of that one? Nice collection! Love those lilacs.

    1. Thanks for all the ID's Susan. Someone on Facebook identified the Red Admiral and said that they're all over NYC this year, and that they were Nabokov's favorite butterfly. I'll email you another view of the last moth, where you can see a pattern on the wing.

  2. Oh, the Red Admiral! Wonderful way of looking at lilacs and their friends.