Summer Butterflies

I have seen so many of these butterflies this summer! I’m pretty sure that all of these photos are of Eastern Tiger Swallowtails (Papilio glaucus). These first two were taken yesterday afternoon at Cane Creek Park. Both of these are of the same butterfly. The one above is my favorite of all the ones I’ve taken so far because my camera actually focused on the eyes (no manual focus on my point and shoot), and it was intently staring at me. I was delighted that it actually climbed up on my finger, briefly, before fluttering all around me. Butterflies are so graceful.

This next one is from Cane Creek Park on July 25. The flowering bush (not sure what it is) was covered in butterflies and bumblebees. I looked yesterday, but the flowers are already gone. I liked this photo because I actually caught the butterfly with its wings open.

This is a short video clip of the same butterfly. I don’t often think to get video which is probably a good thing as my hard drive is drowning in photos, let alone video clips.

And finally, this last photo is from a short hike I took on July 7th at Standing Stone State Park. Does anyone know why butterflies gather like this on the ground? They were so focused on whatever they were doing that they were completely oblivious of my presence for the first few minutes. This allowed me to get pretty close to the whole group of them. It was pretty cool when they all took flight at the same time, dancing around me like fairies.

Oh, and that’s a millipede in the lower left-hand corner, not a snake. Unfortunately, the photo I took of it was a little blurry and not really worth sharing.

After a quick search back through my archives, I just realized that I haven’t written a post devoted to Standing Stone State Park here. I know I meant to. It must be one of those ideas I placed on the back burner that fell behind the stove! I’ll have to remember to write-up a post about it for another time. It’s a beautiful park! I ended up cutting my hike short that day because it was really too hot to be hiking.

These butterflies have, seriously, been everywhere this year. I even noticed them in my yard and while driving. Sitting at a red light the other day, one gently passed on the breeze right in front of me. It’s probably just a coincidence; but it’s a happy, beautiful coincidence that I don’t mind one bit. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes:

“Happiness is like a butterfly. The more you chase it, the more it will elude you; but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

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7 thoughts on “Summer Butterflies

  1. Wonderful photos and video! I’ve been taking photos of the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail all the way up and over here in the northeast! Last week they were all over the place, now this week they’ve moved on…

    The female is the one with blue near the bottom of her wings. The male doesn’t have the blue. But what I really love is that the female can also be a black color – she’s gorgeous, and very similar to the Spicebush Swallowtail, which is also black and very exotic with what I refer to as teal colored comet dust in a spray at the bottom of the wings.

    I didn’t know much at all about nature till 2007 when I started writing a photo blog about a pond next to a house I’d just moved to. I was captivated by the various life forms in and around the pond. If you’re interested, see SilverLining-MaryMcAvoy.com

    I maintained the blog for five years, through the four seasons of each year! But I’ve moved from there now. I miss it terribly!

    Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful photos and the video!

  2. PS Love the Thoreau quote!
    and
    PPS
    I found this at learnaboutbutterflies.com!
    “Why do butterflies gather at sandbanks and mud ?
    Butterflies seen on sandbanks or imbibing moisture from muddy patches are almost always males. They home in on sources of sodium and nitrates which are found dissolved in mud or damp sand. This process is commonly called ‘mud-puddling’. Sodium is vital for physiological functions including digestion, reproduction and flight. Urine-soaked ground, carnivore dung and bird droppings are especially rich in these minerals, and can attract large aggregations of males. Males usually mate with more than one female, so after mating they need to puddle again to replenish lost salts.
    Typically just one or two males will chance upon a suitable feeding spot, but other butterflies flying past seem able to recognise their brethren on the ground, and swoop down to join them. The bright patch of colourful butterflies quickly becomes a magnet to every passing male of the same species.
    Females do not normally ‘mud-puddle’, they feed instead on nectar, fallen fruit and other organic matter. They obtain their sodium in a different way. It is passed to them along with spermatophore, by the males during copulation. Females therefore do not need to waste valuable time puddling, and can instead concentrate on searching for good oviposition sites.”

    And I found this at learner.org on a page about Monarchs:
    “A cluster of butterflies is called a roost or bivouac.”

    Sorry to take up so much space on your comments page but I find all these things fascinating!

    1. Wow, Mary, this information is awesome! You are awesome! Thank you so much for taking the time to post your comments. Please, don’t apologize, because I find all of this very, very interesting and fascinating, also. I love your blog over at SilverLining-MaryMcAvoy.com! Your photography is fantastic.

      1. Thanks! I love my SilverLining blog. It was a labor of love and a remarkable five-year journey of learning.

        I got so excited seeing your post! It reminded me of my own curiosity, etc. with nature.

        For the past two weeks, my computer screen image has been the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, a female! So, when I saw your post I got psyched! Glad you appreciate the info. So much going on in nature and we miss it if we don’t stop to have a look.

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