When one flies in, and you’re sure it’s a black species of swallowtail, lots of us immediately speed to determine if it is that uncommon Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly. Not easy that, for they move their wings very rapidly, as they hover over the flowers they’ve common to enjoy. Making it even more difficult to decide the ID, the definitive ventral (under) wing surface is usually tough to see, that because those wings are in rapid motion.
What do I do? I quickly position myself knowing that my object of possible elation will be gone in one minute or less. Then I shoot way, with my Canon film camera’s shutter choice set a 3-exposures in a second or so. Sometimes all this results in success! This time, I score an fine image of this Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly nectaring on a Common Milkweed flowerhead. There’s no doubt about it. The wash of royal blue extends forward of the sweet coral spots, the abdomen and thorax and head feature the characteristic pattern of Pipevine white body spots, and this one is Fresh! Very Fresh!
Have I ever thought that the incoming butterfly was a Pipevine, only to be disappointed, or to find that it was a Pipevine, but a ‘worn’ individual? Well, yes, perhaps hundreds of times over these years.
Doak field, Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania, just an 8-hour drive from Grand Central Station/Madison Square Garden in New York, New York.
The privilege of standing there, and enjoying this is very satisfying. This Spicebush Swallowtail butterfly is fully engaged in sipping the rich nectar of this Thistle flowerhead. Some years ago, I asked a professor emeritus of the sugars that might be present in this nectar. I don’t recall that his answer included the names of those sugars. Sugars, proteins and the occasional tiny insect that are taken up with the nectar must provide a fine nutritional mix here, for this Spicebush Swallowtail is resplendent, with its jet black, handsome coral spots, blue blazes, white spots on head, thorax and abdomen and that very healthy looking right complex eye.
Raccoon Creek State Park’s Doak Meadow, southwestern Pennsylvania. Just an 8-hour drive from New York, New York.
Sylbie shoots away, and the pair of Swallowtail Butterflies move to my upper arm.
Part of our cherished ‘Jeff’s Earring’ series of photo images, the coupled pair of Eastern Black Swallowtail Butterflies pause, he holding her and himself firmly to my right arm. Sylbie Yon is shooting photographic slides with my Canon Elan 7e film camera.
Moments later, they will have found their way up to my right ear, and, with G-d’s exquisite beauty adorning me, Frieda A”H (OBM”) gone, Georgia at my feet, and Sylbie with sure hand and eye, tears did well up, but, Brooklyn born, I foolishly refused to let them run.
Hope this makes sense on Valentine’s Day?
Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat I, Eatonton, Georgia.
With February nearly half over, it’s understandable that we are waiting for them. Them? Well, waiting to again enjoy visits from such as this one, an Eastern Back Swallowtail butterfly. His vivid colors appeal and draw us closer to him.
Just the thought of celebrating such visits has us on the alert at our garden centers, native plant markets and even when we’re fortunate enough to be visiting the garden of an accomplished friend Parsley, rue and their parsley types will attract Eastern Black Swallowtails, entice them to lay their eggs on those houseplants. Their caterpillars? Gorgeous. Their own beauty? Find the words.
Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat, Eatonton, Georgia, just 7 hours north of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Forget that it’s cool and raining this afternoon here in Macon, Georgia. Right out my window here, are those dozens of 1-year old Georgia native shrubs, trees and perennials. It’s not my native Brooklyn, not Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, my home for those 27 years. In just 2-3 weeks, the weather here in central Georgia’s Piedmont region, will change. Afternoon temperatures here will reach the high 70’s Fahrenheit.
Those new plants, found last year at the superb Georgia nurseries: Nearly Native Nursery (Fayetteville, GA), Night Song Natives (Canton, GA), Nikki Taylor’s Nursery (Lizella, GA), GMC Native Plant Education Center (Warner Robins, GA) & Beech Hollow Wildflower Farm (Lexington, GA) will brighten our days, lighten our smiles.
This image of an Eastern Black Swallowtail butterfly, out of its chrysalis and awaiting the summer’s morning sun’s rays, this photo stops me. I stop and ogle. The beauty here? It just gets me thinking of how magnificent G-d’s creations are.
Where? The Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat I, in its original Eatonton, Georgia location. Reason enough to get your fennel, dill, parsley plants ready. The chance of finding a fresh Eastern Black Swallowtail in your own garden?