Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Visit with a Swallowtail

A butterfly stopped by our courtyard a couple of days ago and spent a while happily, or so it seemed to me, flitting amongst the blooms on our Chaste Tree.

I haven't seen too many butterflies this summer, mainly because it has been too hot to spend much time outside, but on this particular day, cool breezes and a perfectly-clear-brilliant-blue sky seemed to beckon to my husband and me to "come outside and sit a spell."

I'm afraid I didn't sit for very long. When I saw the butterfly, I ran back inside and grabbed my camera, in hopes of capturing a little of its glory before it went on its way to wherever butterflies go this time of year.

After "googling" pictures and reading articles about swallowtails, I was able to identify this glorious little creature as a Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes), one of North America’s largest butterflies.

Their wingspan can reach up to six inches, and two defining characteristics are the two rows of yellow spots on the upper side of their wings ...

And the blue spots on the underside of the hind wings ...

He seemed to be perfectly happy, flitting from one flower to another, as if he couldn't get enough of the nectar. He reminded me of hummingbirds this time of year when they're getting ready for their long journey south.

Oh, how I wish I had gotten a better shot of him from this angle, as he came in for a landing ...

But, overall, I was pleased with the pictures I captured ... and truly loved watching our beautiful little visitor up close and personal, thanks to my zoom lens.

I read that Giant Swallowtails migrate southward during the cold season, but I'm not sure how far south they go.

As for this one ... I'm so glad he stopped by our courtyard on that gorgeous September afternoon, and wherever his journeys may take him, I wish him Godspeed.


Dorothy said...

Wonderful captures!!! I'm jealous! I hardly ever see one of these!! Great shots!!!

C. M. Designs said...

Janie, you sure were in the right place at the right time.. What gorgeous pictures of the beautiful swallowtail and flowers.
I'm happy that you're finally having some lovely weather. We are too.
Enjoy this day and your weekend.