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Serendipity

The continuing discoveries of a 21st century artist and naturalist …

Late last week I took several photographs in pursuit of a butterfly I had never seen. When I say ‘several’ I’m talking about close to two hundred photographs out of which I kept just over eighty.   Instead of the one butterfly I was pursuing I ended up with multiple butterflies, flowers, and berries. One of the reasons for taking so many pictures – which is more feasible now because of digital photography – is that in addition to trying to identify this new butterfly I also wanted to capture a visiting monarch butterfly with just the right light on its wings.

Butterflies, though graceful flyers, are incredibly agile and one of the more difficult insects to capture on film.  So trying to get a clear photograph often means snapping a lot of photographs only seconds apart.  While this series has so far been about my discoveries of wildflowers, this piece is about those fleet flyers.  In addition, it includes what I call ‘happy accidents’: unexpectedly capturing different insects in a shot  or managing to get clear shots of insects in flight.

The new butterfly….

Fiery Skipper in Flight

Family:  Hesperiidae; Subfamily:  Hesperiinae

Wings Span:  1 – 1.25″

Rapid darting flight

Fiery Skipper In Flight

Fiery Skipper In Flight

Monarch Butterfly

 Family:  Nymphalidae (Brush Foots); Subfamily:  Daninae (Milkweed butterfly);

Wing Span 3.5 – 4.0;   ‘Strong, soaring flight’

The monarch’s sunlit wings

Monarch Butterfly Light Through Wings

Monarch Butterfly Light Through Wings

Monarch In Flight Pictures

Monarch Butterfly Flying Away

Monarch Butterfly Flying Away

Monarch Butterfly On the Wind

Monarch Butterfly On the Wind

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cabbage White Butterfly Caught Mid-Air

Family:  Pieridae (Whites and Sulphurs); Subfamily:  Pierinae

Wing Span:  1.5 – 2.0″

Cabbage White Butterfly Flitting By

Cabbage White Butterfly Flitting By

Female Cabbage White Butterfly Pieris Rapae Happiness is a Butterfly Bush

Female Cabbage White Butterfly Pieris Rapae Happiness is a Butterfly Bush

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Female Yellow Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Family:  Papilionidae (Swallowtails);  Subfamily:  Papilioninae (Sawllowtails)

Wing Span: 3.5 – 5.5″

Males – Always Yellow; Females have two color forms – 1) Increased blue scaling in black hindwing border; 2) Dark Form Female is mostly black with extensive blue hindwing marking

Hurry High - Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Yellowtail Female

Hurry High – Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Female

 

Red-Spotted Purple Butterfly In Flight

Female: Nymphalidae (Brush Foots); Subfamily:  Limentidinae (Admirals & Relatives)

Wingspan: 3 – 3.5″

Strong, gliding flight and often quite wary

Red Spotted Purple Butterfly in Flight

Red Spotted Purple Butterfly in Flight

Humming Bird Moth In Flight

Family:  Hemanis diffinis (Sphinx Moth)

Often mistaken for small hummingbird or a large bee

Hummingbird Moth in Flight

Hummingbird Moth in Flight

Hummingbird Moth (with added surprise of Augocholora Sweat Bee)

Augocholora Sweat Bee – Family:  Halictidae; Genus:  Augochlora;  Species:  pura

Hummingbird Moth and Augocholora Sweat Bee

Hummingbird Moth and Augocholora Sweat Bee

Bumblebee Caught Heading My Way

Common Bumblebee – Family:  Apidae; Subfamily:  Apinae; Tribe:  Bombin; Genus:  Bombu

Bumble Bee Heading This Way

Bumble Bee Heading This Way

Bluets With Leaf-Footed Bug

Bluets:  Family: Asteraceae; Genus:  Houstonia; Species:  caerulea

Leaf-Footed Bug:  Family:  Coreidae; Subfamily:  Coreinae; Genus:  Acanthocephala; Species:  femorata

Bluets with Leaf Footed Bug

Bluets with Leaf Footed Bug

Virginia Spiderwort

Unidentified Bug Courting a Virginia Spiderwort Blossom

Virginia Spiderwort:  Family:  Commelinaceae; Genus:  Tradescantia;  Species: virginiana

Virginia Spiderwort Being Courted

Virginia Spiderwort Being Courted

Virginia Spiderwort supplies a tiny worm’s breakfast

Virginia Spiderwort Blossoms - Open For Breakfast

Virginia Spiderwort Blossoms – Open For Breakfast

Bull Thistle Hosting a Notch-Tipped Flower Longhorn Beetle

Bull Thistle – Family:  Asteraceae;  Genus:  Cirsium;  Species:  vulgare

Notch-Tipped Flower Longhorn Beetle – Family:  Cerambycidae:  Genus:  Typercerus; Species:  sinuatus

Bull Thistle with Notch-Tipped Flower Longhorn Beetle

Bull Thistle with Notch-Tipped Flower Longhorn Beetle

Queen Anne’s Lace With A Pennsylvania Leatherwing Beetle

Queen Anne’s Lace – Family:  Umbelliferae;  Genus:  Daucus;  Species: carota

Pennsylvania Leatherwing Beetle – Family:  Cantharidae:  Genus:  Chauliognathus;  Species:  pennsylvanicus

Queen Anne's Lace With A Pennsylvania Leatherwing Beetle

Queen Anne’s Lace With A Pennsylvania Leatherwing Beetle

Downy False Foxglove and Unidentified Visitors

Downy False Foxglove – Family:  Orobanchaceae; Genus:  Aureolaria; Species:  virginica

Feeding the Hatch - Downy False Foxglove

Feeding the Hatch – Downy False Foxglove

Wild Parsnip with Bee

Family:  Umbelliferae;  Genus:  Pastinica;  Species:  sativa

Wild Parsnip with Bee

Wild Parsnip with Bee

Capturing your intended subject in a way that is pleasing to you and others – particularly one in motion – is rewarding.  Having additional subjects move in for a ‘photo bomb’ is a special bonus.


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