Magical, Black, Butterfly

I have a fascination with the flying nectar-drinkers in my garden. Bees, hummingbirds, butterflies, moths -- I could watch them for hours (if I had that kind of time). Even with my tight schedule I find myself watching them feeding whenever I can, and ten minutes watching the same insect do the same thing over and over again is not unusual. Nor is it ever boring for me.

Although bees and hummingbirds are plentiful in my garden right now, butterflies have a special attraction at this time of year. Maybe it's the way they float silently around the flowers, leaving but then immediately returning to noiselessly taste nectar, just inches from my eyes. They're like magic with wings.


Maybe it's the fact that these insects seem to do impossible things.

The incredibly long proboscis that appears seemingly from nowhere and dips deep into the blooms. How does it bend? How do they control it?

Similarly their legs. So long and slender, they should snap at the slightest touch. But they do not, and are surprisingly strong -- have you had a butterfly on your finger before? They've got grip!

The eyes too. Some butterflies calmly soar around the yard, but others fly in crazy zigzag patterns, so fast I wonder how they could possibly see where they're going. I've never seen a butterfly crash into anything though, so somehow they see and avoid things at that speed.

Then the wings, the main source of their universal appeal. So beautiful, so delicate, and so intricate.

There's just too much I don't know about these wonderful garden visitors.

One thing I do know: the garden wouldn't be the same without them.

(Note: these photos are all of the same female Spicebush Swallowtail, if my ID skills are correct.)


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Janet  – (August 11, 2011 at 3:33 PM)  

Such a delicate creature, beautifully photographed.

Ginny  – (August 11, 2011 at 4:20 PM)  

Great photos! Like you, I love watching the butterflies in my garden. Beth at "Be Yourself. . .everyone else is taken" has posted some great butterfly tongue photos at

beth  – (August 12, 2011 at 10:44 AM)  

thanks for sharing these and visiting me....those swallow tails are frisky little buggers and never stop moving. i really hate trying to shoot them. the other butterflies are so much calmer. i wonder why that is ?

Christine  – (August 14, 2011 at 12:06 PM)  

Stunning photos! I don't see nearly enough butterflies in my garden.

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