Red-Spotted Purple Butterfly Getting Minerals from a Moist Pennsylvania Trail

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.


The Teeny, Tiny, Loner Harvester Butterfly is One of My Favorites

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]?


Another Butterfly that I Rarely See on Flowers

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.


Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly with Blue Splashes on Her Hindwings

Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly photographed at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

Real time this Tiger Swallowtail female is working furiously to take up the nectar of these Butterflyweed flowers.

Her blue splashes on her hindwings are what sold me on this photograph. It’s a great challenge to capture them, considering how much the subject is moving.

Papilio glaucus is the species name of the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly. It’s one of our largest butterflies.


Southern Gulf Fritillary Butterfly Searching for Passionflowers

Gulf Fritillary shot at Savannah National Wildlife Refuge (SNWR), North Carolina

They are just spectacular. This one is resting before it continues its search for nectaring passionflowers.

They are very abundant in our Southeast. This morning at the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge I saw many Gulf Fritillaries.

I once spotted one in the Outdoor Gardens of the Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh! That was more than 10 years ago. It was hundreds of miles north of its usual range. Hmmm! The previous months had been warmer and drier than usual and the Outdoor Gardens featured Passionflower. So does that explain the appearance of a Southern butterfly in the North?

That’s what I love about what I do. You never, never know what you’ll see next.

When you study this photo of one of the most beautiful butterflies in the U.S., what do you think about?