Abundance of Butterflies at Swede Park – Bob Pyle

Returning from a field trip in SE WA and NE OR, I found my own place dense with butterflies. This is Swede Park, Gray’s River, Wahkiakum Co., SW Washington–usually a pretty subtle place for butterflies. All this week, western tigers (P. rutulus) have been positively swirling around the garden, from one to two dozen at a time, with many courtship interactions. Other species have appeared in varying numbers. On Tuesday, July 14, I tallied the following assemblage:

woodland skipper (O. sylvanoides), 1 m,  beginning of its season.
dun skipper (E. vestris), 1 m, a rarity here, seldom more than 1 per season.
Clodiius parnassian (P. clodius), 1, tapered off after being common 2 weeks earlier.
western tiger swallowtail (P. rutulus), many.
pale tiger swallowtail (P. eurymedon), 1.
margined white (P. marginalis), several in the vicinity.
echo blue (C. echo), several; strongest 2nd brood I’ve seen here, all week.
Hydaspe fritillary (S. hydaspe), 1; today there were 2.
painted lady (V. cardui), several.
red admirable (V. atalanta), two one the prey of a crab spider.
Milbert’s tortoiseshell (N. milberti) 1, a real rarity here.
common wood nymph (C. pegala), 1 m, beginning of its season.

This is an uncommon departure from the usual paucity here. All of the butterflies were visiting butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii) Celastrina echo is also using the Buddleia as a hostplant here. Today I repeated an observation of last year, watching a C. echo f .oviposit on an unopened bud of Buyddleia bloom. This may account for their abundance here this year.

Bob Pyle

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