Sighting for September 15, 2014

Wade Gibson

6414 Pinehurst Road
Baltimore County, MD

Finally got a chance to identify this butterfly today. It’s been flitting through my yard for the past four days, but never lighting to give me a chance to get a good look and identify it. Today it decided to stop and enjoy the just-opened asters and give me a chance to get close and collect some pics. You can see from the one attached that it’s a bit tattered and scuffed up Giant Swallowtail.

I’ve been observing and chasing moths and butterflies for over 60 yrs in the Bethesda/Baltimore area and have never seen one of these here. I see its range includes this area, but it must be very rare in these parts.

I’d be curious to hear from others whether there are “hot spots” where these magnificent creatures can be seen more often in Maryland, or whether this is an unusual sighting and lucky photo op.

We’ve also had more monarch caterpillars on our orange butterfly weed out front than in the past six years, even though the number of adults has been very low again this year (fewer than a dozen sightings in our yard all summer). Attached pic of adult on butterfly weed and mature caterpillar.

  • Giant Swallowtail 1
  • Monarch 1

Giant Swallowtail

Monarch caterpillar