Yesterday afternoon, a Giant Swallowtail visited our backyard garden. This was the first time I’ve seen the species actually nectaring in the garden. I’ve had them land on one of our maple trees before. The butterfly fed by hovering at the flowers (especially the Buddleia and phlox) but proved very difficult to photograph since the wings were almost constantly in motion. I’ve been seeing this species several times a week all summer. It is Canada’s largest butterfly and a newcomer to the Kawarthas. I can only assume that it has become established this far north (its traditional range does not extend beyond extreme southern Ontario) as a result of milder winters that allow the pupa (chrysalis) to overwinter successfully. The Giant Swallowtail lays its eggs on Prickly-ash shrubs and on the leaves of Hop trees. The caterpillar looks like a big bird dropping!
Drew Monkman, Maple Crescent