Zebra Swallowtails On The Beach

Zebra swallowtail butterflies photographed at Mason's Neck State Park, VA

I was amazed/shocked/ecstatic to find them. They were on a little sandy beach, at the edge of a small fresh water pond in Mason Neck State Park in Virginia. What’d I do? I approached them cautiously at a probable speed of .25 miles per hour. I kept thinking that I’d never seen such a sight before, and probably would never see Zebra coupled together like this again. My memory bank did an automatic audit, and I realized that I’d never seen Zebras like this. Those 13 summers spent with my grandparents in their tiny ‘bungalow’ in Rockaway Beach, Queens, New York left me with memories of couples loving on the beach, but no, no, these were Zebras Swallowtails.

My super-slow approach turned out not to be necessary. They did not acknowledge me at all, they entranced or whatever. I shoot Macro- so I had to get very close, that did not startle them. You ask how long they remained entwined? Nearly 45 full minutes, they barely moving. As we saw back in Rockaway Beach, on the Atlantic Ocean (Beach 65th to be exact), nothing bothered them that whole time, nothing intruded or saw them as vulnerable.

A Burt Lancaster and what’s her name, reliving splendor on the beach. To think that maybe none of you have ever seen such a scene before. Wow!