Butterflies, also known as Flutterbies, Flying Flowers, those creatures with the wings that visit garden flowers, when spied as the weather begins to warm, cause a mad dash for the camera. In early spring, they move too fast, never resting long enough for the intrepid photographer to sneak close enough to get focused and click the shutter. It is an effort in frustration. Above shot taken April 17, 2011, with the Azaleas in full gaudy regalia. Added: This may be a Spicebush Swallowtail. Thanks Randy!
As the warming progresses and daytime temps rise, the little Crescents/Checkerspots start showing up. The brown stones of the gravel paths are satisfying saunas for our flying friends, holding heat from the sun to help the wet wings of newly emerged butterflies dry crisp and strong. Above shot taken May 14, 2011. Added: Randy of Randy and Meg’s Garden Paradise has identified this as a Silvery Checkerspot.
Time rolls ever onward. The Eastern Black Swallowtails grace the garden in larger numbers than the solitary visitor back in April. Sunning on a shiny oak seedling leaf, soaking up some rays before finding luscious flowers on which to nectar. Above shot taken July 14, 2011.
The dark phase of the Tiger Swallowtail female looks so similar to the Eastern Black Swallowtail, the true identity is merely a guess. Research revealed that the black phase Tiger is more abundant when the lookalike Pipevine Swallowtail is nearby. We have never seen a Pipevine in the Fairegarden, however. Above shot taken August 7, 2011.
Supposedly the striping of the Tiger can be detected faintly in this black phase. Do you see it? The body lacks the white spotting of the Eastern Black. The volunteer thistle was a favorite of all the flutterbies. Shot also taken August 7, 2011.
Even as summer highs progress to triple digits the gravel is as attractive as ever. The Red Spotted Purple allows the camera toting gardener to get quite close without skittering away. Shot taken August 27, 2011.
The wait is over for the highly desirable Gulf Fritillary. The larva will only feed on the native passionvine, Passiflora incarnata. We allow those vines to grow and flower for the sole reason of having this butterfly here, but last year nary a one was seen. It was with great delight we saw this one, enjoying the sun-kissed stones. Shot taken August 28, 2011.
The smaller butterflies confound the human trying to identify them sometimes. Shot taken August 31, 2011. Added: Lisa of Greenbow has identified this as the Tawny Crescent. Randy of Rand and Meg’s Garden Paradise has identified this as a Pearl Crescent. This is why I don’t even try to make the ID!