My first butterfly photo
The Hydrangea paniculata 'Grandiflora' is blooming now and the shrub is teeming with bees, wasps, flies and the occasional butterly. The feeding is frenetic and the moving from flower to flower, frantic - the bugs don't seem to be very aware of my presence. Unfortunately it is also very windy so it makes it doubly difficult to photograph the rapidly moving insects.
Luckily this tattered Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Papilio glaucus was in full display with a lull in the breezes so I was able to capture it. This is the first time I was able to get anywhere near a butterfly and was even able to use the macro camera function at a distance of no more than 3-4 inches. The Swallowtail was so intent on lapping up the nectar that it was oblivious to possible danger which was lucky for me.
Actually the Swallowtail is not the first butterfly I photographed. I was going through some of the photos I took yesterday and there was a butterfly in several of the pictures. Here it is. I haven't identified it yet.
Here's a slightly better picture of the wings.
Some interesting information from Wikipedia: "Adult (Swallowtail) males are yellow, with four black "tiger stripes" on each fore wing. The trailing edges of the fore and hind wings are black which is broken with yellow spots. On the medial margin of the hind wing next to the abdomen there are small red and blue spots.
There are two morphs of adult females, a yellow and a dark one. The yellow morph is similar to the male, except that the hind wings have an area of blue between the black margin and the main yellow area. In the dark morph, most of the yellows area are replaced with a dark gray. A shadow of the "tiger stripes" can still be seen on the dark females. The dark form is more common in the Southern portions of the range, especially in areas also inhabited by the pipevine swallowtail, which it seems to mimic."
So, I guess my photo is of a male Swallowtail.
A Black Swallowtail, Papilio polyxenes briefly landed on a flower head before flitting off but it was cautious and skittish and did not stay around very long so I was unable to get a picture of it.
I also saw an interesting sight near the Hydrangea. A large mosquito shaped insect (I thought it looked like a crane fly but it seemed larger) had a honeybee in either its mandibles or front legs, which it had apparently caught in the Hydrangea, but I couldn't see well enough to make the determination how it was holding the bee which appeared to be dead or at least stunned since it ceased to move. I ran into the house to grab the camera but when I returned the mosquito? and bee were gone. Rats, that would have been and interesting photo. I guess I'll have to start wearing the camera around my neck every time I venture into the yard.
P.S. Thanks to Entangled of Tangled Branches Cultivated the small butterfly has been identified as a Red-banded Hairstreak, Calycopis cecrops. Here are several great butterfly identification websites:
Jeff's butterfly page.
Discover Life Butterflies.
Butterflies and moths.org