My Heart Beat Jumps when I see a Milbert’s Tortoiseshell Butterfly

Ventral View of a Milbert's Tortoiseshell Butterfly on a Teasel Flowerhead photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

Your heart beat jumps when a Milbert’s Tortoiseshell Butterfly flies in! Mine does. You just never see them in pairs or threes, and do you expect to see one? No. East of the Mississippi River, they are a northern butterfly.

When this one flew in, and set on this Teasel flowerhead, I was so Thankful for being there, being there then. Add to that the Milbert’s slowly worked the Teasel flowers, one by one, methodically. Better yet, it did not flee when I made my long, protected Macro- lens approach. Icing on the tiramisu cake was that the one was . . . gorgeous. Just look at that flash of nourishing orange on the dorsal surface of that right forewing.

I’m humbled by such limited experiences. I expect that few of you have been so fortunate as I’ve been, to have met and spent many minutes with Milbert’s (this one went to several Teasel flowerheads before it flew).

Raccoon Creek State Park, Nichol Road trail, southwestern Pennsylvania, about an 8-hour drive from the Statue of Liberty boat landing.

(Teasel is an alien plant, FYI, although truth be told, many, many butterflies adore its nectar (as do bees, such as the one shown on the far side of the Teasel)).


One thought on “My Heart Beat Jumps when I see a Milbert’s Tortoiseshell Butterfly

  1. After i told a friend about a novel experience i had on monday with a roost(?) of butterflies, she sent me the link to your website. the “earring” photos are amazing. did you dust your shirt or hat with butterfly pheromones? i thought you might enjoy hearing about my monday experience which took place at Lake Lagunitas, a reservoir in Marin County, Califrornia. i was walking around the “lake” when i came upon an area filled with fluttering butterflies, perhaps recently hatched? anyway, i stood still hoping to see wings outspread so i could find out what kind of butterflies they were, when all of a sudden, i was encircled by many butterflies, swirling around me for a few brief, delightful seconds. i haven’t yet found a photo of the kind i saw, maybe fritillaries or coppers? cheers!

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