A butterfly that almost always looks a bit different from the one before, this Viceroy butterfly has faint black line barely seen along the trailing edges of its hind wings. Stronger than that are its striking white dots set in that vivid black band that traverses all of its wing edges, the rich orangish of its wings and the dramatic white dots of forewing tips and head.
Where will you see your Viceroy this 2021? It stays close to wetlands, streams, creeks and lakes, and doesn’t travel too far from its hostplant, willow trees and willow shrubs.
Folks like us, who seek butterflies to score their images almost always stop what we’re doing when a Viceroy flies in, or flies past. Why? It just might be just like our response when we see a superstar walk by, Oh My Goodness, is that . . . ?
Nichol Road, Raccoon Creek State Park, southwestern Pennsylvania, a fine trail.
Can’t forget this moment, not for a long time. The Georgia Native Plant Society (GNPS) had posted on Facebook, of the virtues of Sumac bushes/small trees. It caught my eye, for my city kid roots (Brooklyn, New York) always tagged sumacs as B-A-D. Poison sumac was found in Brooklyn and the other five boroughs of New York City. It was to be avoided. The GNPS’s Facebook post told of the virtues of Georgia’s native sumacs. Attractive in the garden, hardy and supplies valuable food to birds and more.
This Viceroy flew in while we were working Woody Pond at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, on the Georgia coastline. Lauren had recommended Harris Neck, and there we went. The Viceroy flew to the sumac that grew on that 4-foot wide strip that separated the Woody Pond trail from the pond’s edge (think alligators!). This Viceroy was fresh and Gorgeous, and began nectaring immediately on the few Sumac flowers that had opened.
So, suddenly Sumacs were good, very good. They attracted beautiful butterflies! That was an epiphany, for me. GNPS touted Sumacs, and there I was excited about a Sumac in a fab Refuge, as it attracted a totally OMG! Viceroy.
Our 8 months ongoing Macon, Georgia back garden now has dozens of trees, bushes and perennials that we’ve added to it, 97.5% of them natives. With Spring ’20, what did we discover? Winged Sumac and Smooth Sumac plants appeared, and began to grow. We didn’t plant them. I chose the several that would be terrific placements, and look strong and robust, and I staked them (so Petra & Cuiffi) don’t trample them. Lots of you know how anxious I am to see these Sumacs surge forward in the Spring ahead of us.
Sumacs and Jeff, we’ve gone along way.
It was always a struggle for me to get to the Butterflies and Blooms Briar Patch Habitat, before 8:30 AM on any morning. I’m a slow starter in the morning, and that jeopardized the opportunities that can be had by early arrivals at wildlife habitat. I’ve often seen others come along at 11 A.M. or noontime.
The sun is way too high after 11 A.M., striking your subject butterfly so that the image is bathed in strong light. I didn’t want that. Much better are images scored early in the morning, with the sunlight striking your butterfly at a sharp angle, accentuating the topography of your subject, producing interesting angles, and great images.
This Viceroy butterfly was difficult to see, as it remained on this flat leaf, just inside the tree margin at the Briar Patch Habitat. It wasn’t ready to make flight, not yet. I was able to quickly have a look at it, and Wow! it was a very handsome Viceroy. it’s marking was bold, nicely colored and included a solid, thick black hindwing mid-line, the line that enables you to easily see that not only is the butterfly smaller than a Monarch butterfly, but with that hindwing line coursing the middle of the hindwing, it’s definitely a Viceroy.
Viceroy butterflies thrive when their hostplant, Willows, trees or bushes, are nearby.
Eatonton, Georgia, in the Georgia Piedmont region.
Scrolling down through our hundreds of Media Library images, I stopped here. Why? Every time I catch a glimpse of this image, it stops me. I look at it, and I smile, a feeling of ease and peace soothes me. I have no doubt that my blood pressure drops a tad.
Often, my mind wanders to the children (4) whom I rarely hear from (?), the grandchildren who almost all can write and hit those cell phone buttons . . . but don’t, my personal losses, the child 4 doors away who at 3 left us just 3 days ago, the business skullduggery that insured that I would not be worth 9 figures, my inability to travel to far corners of this world to seek butterflies . . . . . . . . . as I imagine most of you too experience wandering mind.
This image snaps me out of that foolishness. I Thank G-d for all I’m Blessed with now. Now. I am reminded that the Followers of wingedbeauty.com are who you are, something I shall always cherish.
Yep, this Viceroy butterfly, in Traci’s Kelso Swamp in Fayiette Township, west of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is a home spun elixir for all that vexes you. No?
This photograph super-charged my eyes and rocked my mind! It was early morning in the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton, Georgia, Virginia’s in-town miracle. I do especially like Viceroy butterflies, and I’m always on the lookout for an extraordinary one. This photo shot me to the moon, it did. Why?
- Our Viceroy butterfly star here posed on its hostplant, in excellent form, long enough for me to cop many images, and super-like this one.
- This was a Macro- shot, me having to be very very close, and he/she allowed me to close the space between us.
- The colors it wore are so very sweet, reminding me of those many many visits to the finest of the jewelry houses in NYNY back then. G-d here shares colors that Cartiers must quietly . . . envy
- Viceroys prefer habitat near much water, the B & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat had willows, but little water, so why were we so blessed with this visit?
- Every aspect of this Viceroy butterfly is gorgeous. You slowly scan it and more and more finery is seen.
- My dearly departed wife, Frieda A”H loved fine jewelry, and as I stood at this beauty, it so evoked for me memories of how . . . .
- My goals remain the same: Chief among them is to score images as good as or better than those in the best of the Butterfly field guides. I did that here, I’d like to say.
- Why? Why? was I so fortunate to be there, at this place, at this time, enabling me to meet such Beauty! A moment earlier or a moment later and . . . . Will of the Wisp they used to call it.
- I suspected then, that if I could capture the essence of this magnificent creature, that some whom I much respect would be pleased, and would say so. That is the wind to my sails. You do it for me.