Here at our home near Lanark, there has been another banner year for the Giant Swallowtail. It’s been almost a repeat of the season of 2013. The first generation emerged in early June and ended in mid-June, feeding mainly on Dame’s Rocket and the orange hawkweed. The second generation started on August 2 and the butterflies have continued flying (save for one rainy day) and nectaring on our garden flowers up to today. They are very abundant with one to 5 seen simultaneously every day. Both the spring and summer flight periods are about 3 to 4 days later than last year (I don’t think I saw any in September of 2013). This is Sept 1 and we counted 5 present around the yard. The midsummer generation feeds on Cone Flower, Garden Phlox, Buddlaea, and Tithona rotundiflora (Mexican Sunflower) with the latter in full glory right now. The Prickly Ash, their essential food plant in these parts is very abundant in open meadows and forests around here.

Also today there are 3 Monarchs nectaring on the Mexican Sunflowers, so six sightings for this species in the past week. It is good to see the population seems to be re-surging and likely, there will be quite a concentration later at Point Pelee and along the shores of Lake Ontario. Bit of a butterfly garden around here….
Ted Mosquin, Lanark (north of Perth)


Giant Swallowtail on phlox - Tim Dyson

Giant Swallowtail on phlox – Tim Dyson


Drew Monkman

I am a retired teacher, naturalist and writer with a love for all aspects of the natural world, especially as they relate to seasonal change.