Swallowtail Butterfly Drinking Sugary Nectar from a Monarda Flower

Eastern black swallowtail butterfly photographed at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

The sugar-loaded nectar that our Spicebush Swallowtail is drinking-in from this monarda flowerhead is as sweet as? Who knows? If you know please share.

The magnificent jewelry on exhibition here is not being viewed at Tiffany, Cartier’s, Sotheby’s or Christies but can be experienced at your local, county, state or national park/wildlife refuge in May, June, July & August in 2012.

All butterflies differ from one another, so not all Spicebush Swallowtails sport such fine color. But stick around such a wildflower bed, and whisssst, in will fly a bedazzler!

Gardeners! Monarda has been hybridized producing dozens of varieties. They are easy perennials. Provide good sun and well-drained soil and if they take to a spot, they may bless it for years and years and years. The yield = butterflies of many species, honeybees and hummingbirds.

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Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly Displaying Her Stunning Splashes of Blue

Tiger Swallowtail butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

The magic of Butterflyweed flowers! When their flowers open in July the morning sun brings a steady procession of butterflies. Swallowtails, Fritillaries, Orange sulphurs, Coral hairstreaks and Monarchs.

Here our heroine is hungrily nectaring and displaying her stunning blue splashes!

After some 2 hours or so of morning sunlight, butterflies do not fly to the Butterflyweed. The last visitors to these flowers are usually very worn and sport heavily damaged wings.

When was the last time that you saw Butterflyweed? Is is a native or an alien wildflower?

What may explain the complete drop-off of butterfly activity at Butterflyweed flowers at mid-morning?


Little Copper Butterfly Bounding from Flowerhead to Flowerhead

American copper butterfly photographed at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

It’s 26 degrees Farenheit outside now. I just returned from a very, very sad place. Oh, this morning we participated in an ‘informal assessment appeal’ to try to lower the abrupt, spiked (very spiked) increase in the 2012 real estate assessment on this house. This PM visit to that sad place, snow covered with deer tracks here and there and the plow coming along during my short stay (they agreed to come around again in 15, which was thoughtful)

Why this American Copper post? Well look at it. Tiny as it is, it is so . . . (do I use the word beautiful too much?) beautiful. Months will have to track by before these little Coppers will be bounding from flowerhead to flowerhead again, but what a treat to look forward to!

Most of us have days like this, happily all of us can hope to look forward to the time real soon when we can watch such little pookies springing from here to there, happily.

Please remind me to update this Post when winter ends,


A Heart Stopping Milbert’s Tortoiseshell Butterfly Flying at Eye Popping Speed

Milbert's Tortoiseshell Butterfly

Here’s a heart stopper! Not prepared for this one, I was shooting the abundant Monarchs, Orange Sulphurs, Checkered Skippers and others in this bed of tall verbena flowers.

What was that? A butterfly flew at eye-popping speed into the verbena. My eyes and brain registered the flight pattern, wing shape, wing coloration and how it balanced itself on the flowers. A Milbert’s Tortoiseshell Butterfly!

That is how exciting it is to see one. A group of women were walking along at the same time and after shooting at least 50 exposures, I quietly greeted them and told them that they were steps away from a butterfly that I’d only seen 3x in 11 years. They liked that, alot.

When your eyes are on plane with the Milbert’s wings, and the sun in at its before- noon position in late summer, it’s as if fire is dancing off of those wings! It’s spectacular. Before you head out to Brazil, Costa Rica or Bolivia, but first make sure you’ve seen such a Milbert’s.

By the way, you can’t tell a Milbert’s where or when to appear and if you photo Macro-, and it’s in a privately owned flower bed, then you are thankful for the opportunity.

If your screen allows, click on the image and examine the trailing ends of its wings for those rich blue spots. Uh Huh?

Why haven’t I seen more than 3 of them since 2000?


Brown Tawny Emperor Butterfly on a Trail Marker Sign

Tawny Hackberry butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

One of my most appreciated images. I had just arrived at the Wetland Trail at Raccoon Creek State Park. On the horizontal post of a trail marker sign I saw, Oh my goodness! This Tawny Emperor butterfly remained in full pose, as I gently pleaded with it to continue to bask in the warm morning sunshine–enabling me to capture more than a roll full (36) of shots. Then it fled! Eureka! This image was the result.

You never know what’s waiting for you at the trail head. Wings dabbed with golden brushes, spots circled by coral rings, all on wings that look like they’re Asterocampa clyton.

An 11×14 graces the wall of my dining room. It’s matting features a calligraphy of someone whom I admired, it noting roughly, ‘How beautiful are G-d’s creatures.’ I enjoy it daily.

One of the hackberry butterflies, a population of them usually signals the nearby presence of trees.