Butterfly

Some days you just need to see butterflies. This is one of those days.


So here are several photos of a male Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly or two. There were three swallowtail butterflies around at one point, so I'm not completely certain that all of these photos are of the same guy. I think so though (with one noted exception).

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You can tell it's a male because there is only a small amount of color showing on the back of the wings in the tail area:


Females have a lot more blue down here -- the yellow would transition to blue then to black.

At one point there was an old, faded guy here as well as the bright, vibrant youngster:


Notice all of the damage to the edges of his wings. I like to think these are bite marks from bird beaks, but I'm not really sure. I imagine this old-timer has had a lot of close escapes.

Back to the young guy now:





He's feeding on one of my butterfly bushes (Buddleia davidii), which you must add to your garden if you like butterflies:


Butterflies are on these flowers all summer long! I remove the spent blooms to keep them coming all season. They're not native, but they're a butterfly magnet, so I grow them along with plenty of native flowers.


Although if he flew away I knew he would soon loop around and return to the bush, this fellow would often flap his wings vigorously while he was drinking.



Would you please keep still! I'm trying to get some decent photos here!

Backlit by the late afternoon sun.



I love watching butterflies almost as much as I love watching bees, and the swallowtails are some of my favorites.

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Jono / Real Men Sow  – (July 11, 2011 at 7:22 AM)  

Ahh, this brings back memories!

We have Swallowails in Norfolk in England, the only place you can find them here. Think they're our biggest butterfly. We used to holiday there when I was a kid, was obsessed with spotting them.

http://www.norfolkwildlifetrust.org.uk/Wildlife-in-Norfolk/Species/Terrestrial-Invertebrates/Swallowtail-Butterfly.aspx

Ginny  – (July 11, 2011 at 8:58 AM)  

I saw my first swallowtail of the season just last week - I think they're a little late this year. That was a female and I saw a male the next day - but none sense. I hope that soon I'll be seeing many of them on my butterfly bush, zinnias, and lantana. The sight of a butterfly lifts my mood just about better than anything!

Cat  – (July 11, 2011 at 9:45 AM)  

Beautiful - especially since there are no big butterflies around this season in these parts ;( Glad you are enjoying them though!

GrowingHabit –   – (July 11, 2011 at 10:42 AM)  

Alan, are there black tiger swallowtails in your region? Have you seen one and gotten pictures, ever? As I understand it, they're not on my side of the rockies, and I surely do with they were.

Alan @ It's not work, It's gardening!  – (July 11, 2011 at 1:15 PM)  

GrowingHabit: Yes, we do. I haven't seen any yet, but later in the summer they will be all over the place. I've planted some parsley which is one of their favorite larval foods. I've got older photos from when I raised them in jars several years ago.

onsafari  – (July 11, 2011 at 3:05 PM)  

Alan - what's your method for keeping the butterfly bush from spreading all over your yard? Do you have any secret tricks?

Alan @ It's not work, It's gardening!  – (July 11, 2011 at 3:37 PM)  

Once the flowers fade, cut them off. Don't let them produce seed! If you've got a really large one, then you're stuck. I cut mine down to the ground each year, so they only get 6' or so tall by the end of the season.

Christine  – (July 12, 2011 at 6:38 PM)  

beautiful photos! Anothercplant I need to add to my shopping list :)

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