Eastern Black Swallowtail Butterfly

Eastern black swallowtail butterfly photographed at Phipps Conservatory Outdoor Gardens, Pittsburgh, PA

You know by now that I am enchanted by the wash of colors displayed on swallowtail wings.

This Eastern Black Swallowtail Butterfly (EBSB) was such a treat to see. Papilio polyxenex are not the largest of our northeastern swallowtails, but they certainly, as she reveals, among our most strikingly beautiful.

Gracefully flying from zinnia flower to the next, I wanted to capture that colorful palette. These zinnias are planted in large flower beds in May. There is little insect activity at their flowers until some time in June. Then, suddenly they begin producing nectar generously, and butterlifes flock to them. Through late September they continue to pump out nutrient -rich nectar. Impressive. Very impressive.

Where are they now? They overwinter as pupae, hidden amongst the leaf litter.

Continue enjoying these butterflies when you go to our other EBSB posts.


Red-Spotted Purple Butterfly

Red Spotted Purple butterfly photographed by Jef Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park

This Red-Spotted Purple butterfly is intent upon getting minerals from the moist trail substrate.

They appear in early summer and the last of them, looking less splendid, may be seen in early September.

Those rich red spots are at the front of each forewing and can also be seen on the ventral (underside) wing surface. No 2 butterflies are identical.

This is another butterfly that flies quickly away from you to a new spot some 30 feet away. If you have the patience to pursue, eventually you’ll get the photo that you seek.


Harvester Butterfly

Harvester butterfly photographed at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

Ah, the Harvester Butterfly. Undeniably one of my favorite butterflies.

This teeny, tiny butterfly is usually found on gravel covered trails that are close to running creeks or streams.

You spot a very small flier, approach slowly, and when you are close enough to make-out wing detail, you conclude with certainty, Ah, a Harvester!

They are usually loners and once you have successfully approached one, it will allow you to watch it.

Those wings! I love the rich coffee brown broken up by their almost haphazard white rings.

And those elfin eyes. Oops, I’d better stop here.

We’ve left no space to discuss how the Harvester differ from all other butterflies]?


Red Admiral Butterfly

Red admiral butterfly photographed at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

Red wing stripes? It’s got to be a Red Admiral butterfly.

Seen on trails and paths during the summertime, this speedster is another butterfly that I rarely see on flowers.  So if they don’t consume nectar, what other sources of nutrition do they depend upon?

Their ventral (underside) wing colors and patterns are spectacular! Actually, if you look closely, you can also see sky blues on the dorsal (upper) wing.

They will appear without notice while you are working in your garden. Presto they’re there and speeding from one spot to another, then whooost! The red admiral zooms off to its next appointment.

They never overextend their stay.