This is just one of many species of blue butterflies. I have never learned to identify each one but that doesn’t keep me from enjoying them. Some times I see dozens of them gathered together on damp soil apparently consuming moisture or maybe minerals.
We could see three American Dipper nestlings in the nest on the underside of a bridge. The parents were busy ferrying food to the hungry mouths. It looks like they’re getting butterfly for desert.
These Summer days are now hot. To cool off a bit I find a place in the shade, relax and enjoy the critters that visit my yard. A few days ago I decided to capture one of the many butterflies that flitted among the flowers nearby. I used no special settings for the camera. I generally just point and shoot. This Two-tailed Swallowtail may be disguished from the Western Tiger Swallowtail by its extra pair of shorter tails.
Ah, summer! It is the time of year when nature is at her best. After giving birth in the spring to flowers, shrubs, animals and insects this new life grows and matures. The vast array of shapes, forms and colors is manifest. Beauty surrounds us, be aware.
Here we have an Anise Swallowtail Papilio zelicaon butterfly busily searching for and extracting nectar from a flower.
This certainly seems to be the year of the California Tortoiseshell . This morning I observed these butterflies gathered in clusters the full length of the foundation around the house.
The concrete was slightly moist and the sun was warm. When the butterfly’s wings absorbed sufficient warmth they folded them vertically so that they resembled little sailboats. This has been the most abundant species in our yard this spring.
These warm days of Spring bring out the early butterflies. When the air temperature gets up to 65 or 70 degrees the earth absorbs the heat and flocks of butterflies gather. Here is one of dozens of California Tortoiseshells basking in the sun. They land with wings outspread to absorb the heat. When they have attained the ideal temperature they fold their wing vertically over their backs. Their long proboscis probs the moist earth for minerals and moisture.
It is not uncommon to find several species gathered together in these communal sites.
Cold nights and stormy weather–is there a better time to think about more pleasant things? Here is a picture I took about a year and a half ago of a Pale Swallowtail. It reminds me of warm summer days, flower gardens and all of the wildlife that goes along with it. Butterflies seem to lead an idyllic life. They flit here and there from flower to flower searching for food and nutrients. They also search for mates. Their short life-span as adults dictates early procreation. While some species hibernate through the winter and mate in the spring, others die when cold weather sets in. Whatever their schedule, whatever their purpose, butterflies make excellent subjects for photography.
Here it is the 23rd of October, just 2 months away from the shortest day of the year. I mowed the lawn for the last time this season. The day was warm after a period of cool wet weather. I pulled up a lawn chair for a little break after chasing the lawn-mower. While sipping a cool “Coke” I happened to notice some activity around the oak tree by the creek. It seems a little late in the season but there were butterflies flitting about the yard and they were congregating on the trunk of the tree. I had to investigate. I counted a minimum of 25 individual butterflies of 3 different species. I limbered up the old Kodak and fired away. The accompanying photo is one of several taken on this occasion.
The butterflies were attracted to the sap-wells in the tree made by a resident Red-naped Sapsucker (a woodpecker). Sap-wells are holes in the bark of trees. Sap ooze from these holes and the sapsucker drinks this sap as do many other critters including butterflies. Hummingbirds have been observed visiting this handout. The sapsucker also gets protein here by catching insects that are attracted to this food source. Usually there are several sap-wells arranged in a horizontal line. Sometimes there are several rows of these wells and make a pattern like a cribbage board.
Look for the story behind photo-ops.