No Rabble This Summer

Last summer Atlantis fritillaries descended on my patch of chives in an orange and black cloud. An amazing sight.

This year? A grand total of two, only one of which I managed to photograph.

This is an odd summer for butterflies — last year they seemed to be everywhere. Now I’m lucky if I see one a day. Anyone else noticing changes?

Atlantis fritillary   Speyeria atlantis

A Rabble of Wings

What do you call a group of butterflies? Depends who you ask. It could be a flutter. A kaleidoscope. A swarm. A rabble.

I like rabble — at least for what descended on my chives the other day.

Bumblebees had been over the flowers days earlier. I  assumed they’d cleaned out the cupboard. Apparently not.

Twelve to 15 fritillaries with their long probosci (aka feeding tubes) found a sweet spot, one the bumblebees couldn’t reach.

Coming and going. Wings a-flutter. Bumping into each other. Hosing up the nectar.

Yup. Definitely a rabble.

Atlantis fritillary   Speyeria atlantis

Bumblebee Bevy

I muttered recently about my efforts to capture bumblebees — too much bee and not enough bumble I wrote.

But that was BC (Before Chives): I’ve discovered that my chive plant is a bumblebee magnet.

I watched one bee for several minutes. She wasted no energy. Finished with one flower, she hopped to the next, circled it clockwise, checked the nectar traps, then buzzed off to another.

Me and the bumblebees. Happy in our work.

Bumblebee   Bombus spp.