The 1,000th Gulf Fritillary Butterfly

Gulf fritillary butterfly on Tithonia, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Kathleen, GA

Several hundred. That’s about how many Gulf fritillaries I saw in 2017. The same could be said for 2016 and for 2015. I go all the way back to about 1997, when I saw my first Gulf. I’m in the Outdoor Gardens of the Phipps Conservatory smack in the middle of Schenley Park, one of Pittsburgh’s huge city parks. I saw it nectaring on one the cultivars. They were massed in sizable beds. I think that was about 21 years ago.

Jeffrey Glassberg has photos of Gulf’s on the front cover and on the back cover of his hot-selling A Swift Guide To Butterflies of North America. Does that not underline how attention-getting they are?

This year treat me to at least my 1,000th Gulft fritillary. I have a number of nice images stored in my slide cabinet. Am I finished with Gulfs?

I know that’s a “No.” When a Gulf fritillary flies in, my peripheral vision does a 1/500 of a second scan of its freshness, coloration, wing condition and general vigor. That’s the juice of this wingedbeauty post. I do have some fine Gulf Frit images and I am motivated to improve on them, with a fresher Gulf, sporting knockout white spots on the upper forewings. This one has an almost explosive orange hue, silver spots on the lower hindwing reflecting mega photons of sunlight, a handsome head, sporty antennae and all that in good pose on a likable flowerhead.

So as not to embarrass other butterfly species, I can’t say that I go so readily to ‘battle stations ‘ when most butterflies enter my periphery.

This is a stunning beast, the Gulf fritillary. How do you find them? By visiting a good garden nursery, setting passion flowers into your garden, and some weeks later: Your first Gulf! If she is kind enough to lay eggs on your passion vine, Whoopee!

This image was photographed in Kathleen, Georgia, at Mike’s amazing lot.