Probably a Black Swallowtail Butterfly

For them not interested in reading, you can see the photos in THIS<<link SmugMug Gallery.  If you want the full experience, keep reading.

While we get many hummingbirds in the back yard, we don’t get many butterflies. Almost none, actually.

This is why, when I see the flutter of big wings, I jump into action, the camera on hand. Such was the case some days ago, especially because the butterfly was unusual. I mean, I’ve already said any butterfly would be unusual here, but this one had black wings. A Black Swallowtail<<link, no less.

Now, this first photo isn’t all that great, but I kept it because of the photo-bombing bee . . . 

As usual, click on the photo to open a larger version in a new tab or window.

Actually, most of the shots were frustrating to get because the fluttering beast was obstinately uncooperative. It seldom gave me a full open-wings shot and robbed me of a decent profile shot. 

Here it is again, the bee safely to the side.

As usual, the photos in the SmugMug gallery will show better than these. There is also a gallery at the bottom of the post with more shots than what I’ll share with the narrative.

The thing is, the coloring of this butterfly’s wings was off.

There should be more marking going up the bottom edge of the wings. You can almost see faint traces of where they should have been, and perhaps once were.

Here’s another shot with the bee.

It also looks like its right hind-wing was damaged, which lead me to wonder if it had been captured and had its wings stripped of some of the scale/pigments it would normally sport.

This next shot is the first I got of the butterfly with its wings open.

So, not just the coloring gone, but also good chunks of a wing. But, here you can see a little better where the markings should have been.

You can almost imagine you see the pattern . . . but maybe it’s your eyes playing tricks on you and giving you what you expect to see.

But no . . . in these next two shots, with the wing lit up by the sun and me having processed the photos to make them brighter, you can definitively see where the markings should have been (and perhaps once were).

The body was also missing the usual bright side markings, and all of it went a long way toward me wondering what this was . . . but, no. There is nothing else close to this shape and coloring, so a Black Swallowtail it is. Maybe it’s old, and no longer cares about attracting potential mates.

As luck would have it, a few days later I encountered numerous Black Swallowtails that look much healthier and recognizable as such. But, them photos are for another post.

Of course, they are not the same as the photos of royalty that visited . . .

But, that’s also a series for another post.

Here is the gallery of all sixteen photos I processed (and, of course, they’re also in the SmugMug gallery linked at the beginning of the post) plus one . . .

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


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