Winter Antidotes VI

Queen Butterfly at White Tank Mountains, AZ
Need a winter antidote now. The NOAA forecast for Pittsburgh tonight and tomorrow, 4″ to 6″ of snow, may sound fantastic to Petra (my black russian), but it will mean going back again to that snow shovel.

Got an image that radiates heat? This one sure does. A Queen butterfly (Danaus gilippus) nectaring in an arroyo in White Tank Mountains Regional Park, west of Phoenix, Arizona. Backstory? I found the arroyo, but after working through it for several hundred yards, I did not find any plant in flower. Why would a plant produce flowers in this unrelenting oven of an arroyo? Then I spotted this gentle beauty, with . . . flowers. Tiny flowers. Queen and I were both happy to find what we were looking for, so my approach enabled this image.

What did I do? Bird in the hand. I stationed myself there, and with baby blue sky, here is the result. Closely related to the the much discussed Monarch butterfly, the Queen’s host plants are similar to those of all Danaus butterflies, Asclepias plants, milkweeds.

So tomorrow morning, as I psyche myself to go out and shovel, I will first open my iMac and soak in this image, a butterfly nectaring in . . . a veritable oven, and overjoyed for it. No doubt!

Jeff

Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly

Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly at Mason Neck State Park, VA

Mason Neck State Park in Virginia and our Zebra swallowtail is contentedly nectaring on Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca).

A butterfly that exudes elegance. Elegance of form: It’s very easy on the eyes. Elegance of flight: It’s flight is direct and lofty, remaining well above the ground. Elegance of diet: Seen here taking milkweed nectar. Their preferred diet, Paw paw, is just 12 feet away.

Eurytides marcellus prefer habitat close to bodies of water, and our subject here is within sight of Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Bald eagles were diving for fish nearby. What a beautiful sight that is. Picture it, baby blue sky, wildflower in full regalia, no wind, butterflies alight and Haliaeetus leucocephalus circling and diving for fish. Ummmm!

Just 1 hour from Washington, DC, much closer than that to the National Museum of the Marine Corps and reached by a road that is lined with gracious Virginia mansions, our Zebra swallowtail is in the right place at the right time.

Our other post of Zebras was also captured at Mason Neck. That post was serendipitous.

Jeffrey