Spicebush Swallowtail Caterpillar

Spicebush Swallowtail Caterpillar (Papilio troilus) #1

I spotted this Spicebush Swallowtail Caterpillar (Papilio troilus) today on the bird bath. More than likely it fell out of the close-by Sassafras tree. I’m guessing this one is pretty close to pupating; but in the final instar of the Spicebush Swallowtail, it turns a bright yellow. According to Wikipedia:

“The entire development process from egg to adult takes about a month. Once they have reached the adult stage, Papilio troilus can live anywhere from two days to two weeks dependent on resource availability and predator avoidance.”

Spicebush Swallowtail Caterpillar (Papilio troilus) #2

I’ll be searching the entire summer for an adult butterfly to photograph, now. I saw one the other day in the yard; however, to my disappointment, I didn’t have my camera outdoors with me at the time. Hopefully, the opportunity will arise again.


By the way, for anyone interested, I recently began exploring Instagram and posting a few shots over there. David is letting me use his old Android as a portable device to get a “feel” for these confounded smartphones. (I have to catch up to the rest of humanity at some point, right?) Fascinating device with a lot of perks, but I really hate typing on it. Give me a keyboard any day! The camera is “meh,” not as great as my Canon PowerShot; but at least it gives me the opportunity to experience Instagram.

Feel free to look me up at: https://instagram.com/pixygiggles/


Spring Azure

Spring Azure (Celastrina ladon) #2

Spring Azure (Celastrina ladon) #2, a photo by pixygiggles on Flickr.

Blue-Butterfly Day
By Robert Lee Frost

It is blue-butterfly day here in spring,
And with these sky-flakes down in flurry on flurry
There is more unmixed color on the wing
Than flowers will show for days unless they hurry.

But these are flowers that fly and all but sing:
And now from having ridden out desire
They lie closed over in the wind and cling
Where wheels have freshly sliced the April mire.

Spring Azure (Celastrina ladon) #1

Spring Azure (Celastrina ladon) #1, a photo by pixygiggles on Flickr.

More information about the Spring Azure, Celastrina ladon (Cramer, 1780), can be found at: Butterflies and Moths of North America.

A Model Butterfly

A Model Butterfly

A Model Butterfly, a photo by pixygiggles on Flickr.

This is by far my favorite photo from my outing today at Burgess Falls. Is this an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)? I’m pretty sure it is; but there are so many butterflies and moths, many quite similar to one another. There were several of these out there today. This one was the most patient and fearless, allowing me a few photos. I’ve missed seeing life and color on my hikes these past couple of months. It’s nice to see everyone coming out of hibernation.

While hiking and climbing up and down that steep hillside of rocks, my thoughts turned to “hope.” What is it? What does hope really mean? I was happily encouraged when I saw the butterflies because to me, butterflies are the perfect symbol of hope. The Monarch butterfly, in particular, somehow manages to migrate “from Mexico to northern USA and southern Canada, a distance of about 4000 to 4800 km (2500–3000 miles).” That’s quite an accomplishment for a creature so delicate and fragile. Also, the butterflies’ metamorphosis from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis and finally, to butterfly bestows hope to the curious observer that change is possible in so many ways. At least, it does for me.

More photos to come this week. I took quite a few today, but I think I’ll only post a few at a time, per day this week to try to get myself back in the habit of posting to my blog more frequently.

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

Day 199 Butterflies on Buttonbush

Usually, I have no problem with walking around Cane Creek Park alone. I love that park! I feel safe there because other people – mostly families, other solitary walkers and joggers, and TTU students playing disc golf – are always around. However, the past couple of times I’ve gone there by myself for a walk, I got a little nervous. I generally trust my instincts. If something doesn’t “feel” right, I take notice. That is why the last time I was at this park, I left without taking my walk around the lake.

It had been about a month since I was last there, so I decided it was time to face this new fear head-on. I tend to blow things out of proportion in my head, especially when I get stuck on a worry. I guess it’s the result of having an over-active imagination and more than a few incidents of being taken advantage of. It may not be irrational to be extra cautious when walking alone, but I felt I was being irrational to completely avoid a place I enjoy so much.

So I walked around the lake today, a fast paced power-walk. Believe me, I needed the exercise! And it felt good. It was much hotter than I expected it to be today, so I was a sweaty mess by the time I was done walking. But it was so worth it.

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.”
~ Eleanor Roosevelt