Sunday, August 17, 2008

Oh, I Give Up!

Try as I might, I am simply no match for those of you who are nature experts: Julie, Tom, Nina, Laura, Mary, Ruth and countless others whose blogs I read with great fascination.

Really, I do love nature. I love watching the seasons change--a wonderful benefit from living in central PA--I love watching birds, and all manner of outdoor creatures, I love the animals living with us. I love tending to my flower gardens.

So, it was a thrill to spot a lovely butterfly as we returned home from a brief shopping trip today. I dashed downstairs (dog hot on my trail wondering where I was going) to grab my camera. The butterfly was first spotted on red zinnias, and then flitted away to some pink zinnias and some dianthus. She (or he?) was not too cooperative in maintaining an open wing stance so I could photograph the lovely design clearly.

I was convinced that all I needed to do was download the photos, type "butterfly" and maybe even "eastern U.S." into Google, and I would find a quick ID. No such luck.

So, I give up. I have a series of photos of a lovely unidentified butterfly. Anyone able to help me?
UPDATE: here's a great site for photos to ID butterflies.


possumlady said...

Looks like an Eastern Yellow Swallowtail to me.

Mary said...

Donna, never give up! I'm happy you ran for the camera.

Looks like a dark female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail to me. The males are bright yellow. I'm not a butterfly expert so I hope I'm right. Large, wasn't it? They're hard to miss.

Beautiful photos, caught at every angle!


Ruth said...

I say it is a Black Swallowtail. I chased one for my entire lunch hour a couple of weeks ago and got one picture. Your shots are gorgeous!

JeanMac said...


LauraHinNJ said...

Yeah... those swallowtails switch between black and yellow to keep us all confused!

Beautiful shots, Donna. They're not easy to find sitting still.

KGMom said...

All-thanks for your help. I was thrown by the orange spots along the outer wings--all the Internet photos showed yellow.
And then there's the abdomen. The Internet photos of tiger swallowtails show the abdomen as stropede. My photo clearly shows spots.
So, then I thought pipevine swallowtail, but mine HAS an orange spot on dorsal hindwing (pipevines don't).
So, I think Ruth is right--black swallowtail.
Thanks, all.
Thanks, butterfly for your absolute beauty.
No wonder I am confused.

KGMom said...

Ahhhh-that would be STRIPED, not stropede. Sounds like a new biology term, doesn't it. It's just my clumsy fingers on the little computer keyboard.

Mary said...

That's why I usually show butterflies on my blog without naming them :o), i.e. "pretty butterfly".

Beverly said...

Those photos are so pretty. You did a good job.

Nora said...

I don't know any of the names of the butterflies...but you got some nice shots as they are difficult to get...most of us all dream of being a writer like you are anyway Donna and now you are into photos

Mary C said...

Donna, at least you got beautiful shots of a beautiful butterfly. I'm lucky if I can get any kind of a shot of one; they are never (and I mean *never*) still long enough to get the camera focused. ;o) But I'm still hopeful that one day I'll succeed, and then I won't know its identification. lol

denverdoc said...

Let us not overlook the spectacular clarity, detail, and color of your zinnia shots!

NCmountainwoman said...

Lovely photographs. We seem to have many more swallowtails this year than we usually have.

Mauigirl said...

Yes, definitely Eastern Black Swallowtail.

I thought at first it was a Mourning Cloak Butterfly (I raised two of them from caterpillars when I was a kid) but they have a wider stripe of white on the outer edges of their wings.

Lovely pictures!

nina at Nature Remains. said...

Yay, Donna, a Black Swallowtail, for sure!
(because I was lucky enough to spend an hour with one, hanging motionless as he waited for his wings to firm up) Come see!
Pictures of them on the move are few and far between. Nice job!

Anonymous said...

I have to agree, black swallowtail!