A Female Falcate Orangetip Butterfly

Falcate orange tip butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park

A morning maker, for sure. Drive the 37 miles to Raccoon Creek State Park, park the truck and head straight to that spot near the Nichol farmhouse. This is the place where I’ve sometimes seen Anthocharis midea. It’s May 6th and getting kind of late for spotting these darlings. You see what I saw. There she is: a healthy female butterfly, happily sipping nectar. It’s good that there isn’t a male nearby, because they will harass a female without let-up, complicating our determination  to photograph these early Spring whites.

This is the only orangetip white east of the Mississippi River. Males appear first and fly crazily looking for non-existent females. When the female butterflies appear, the males go nuts, demanding their full, complete attention. Our heroine here has probably completed her courtship and is feeding to insure healthy egg development.

Finding them is a treat, and a rush, because at some point in morning, they leaves. Bye bye! They may or may not reappear the next day?

I’ve never seen a Desert Orangetip Caterpillar. Cech and Tudor report that the caterpillars eat at night.

Will  you be viewing our post of the Desert Orangetip? Just 2,000. miles to the west. What a rich orange. How exactly is that done?

I’m 1/3 through Butterfly People by William Leach. I envy (Oops! not a good choice of words) the butterfly enthusiasts of the 19th century. They had such a rich variety of species to see, and were, it seems, quite collegial.



Variegated Fritillary Butterfly

Variegated Fritillary Butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow in Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, Maryland

It’s October at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge near Cambridge, Maryland, and we’re looking at eye candy on the wing.  This Euptoieta Claudia would certainly raise the eyebrows of the artisans in the Cartier studios.

He is sipping nectar at the Butterfly Garden at the National Wildlife Refuge Visitors Center, and is treating us with just the right background blooms.

Fritillaries are exquisite when they are young. This male offers the full menu of color and patter for this species: rich orange-brown, yellow central banding on all 4 wings, orange spots surrounded by a black border in forewing cells of each wing, black veins and submarginal black spots.

Their nectar diet is not limited to a single flower. So, these generalists drink nectar from passionflowers, pansies, violets, and a menu of other flowering species.

We’ve posted other Variegated Frits. They are generally intolerant of my approach with a camera. Each of our posted images is the result of many, many attempts to score premium images.

Euptoieta Claudia is best known as a southeastern U.S. species. We have many fritillary species here and in the western United States.  It will be awhile before I have western ones safe and secure in my Neumade cabinet of slides.