Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Tuesday, October 2, 2018,

This is a male Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly. I found this guy at Avalon Park and Preserve back at the end of last July. I had spent most of the morning photographing Monarchs when I spotted this beauty. This is a fairy large butterfly, bigger than Monarchs, and hard to miss.The female, which comes in two color morphs, is supposed to be even larger than the male.

I have two field guides for butterflies. One is the Kaufman Field Guide to Butterflies of North America and the other is the National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Butterflies. Both guides say that the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail is one of the most common butterflies in its range and yet, I rarely see them at all. It’s not like they’re hard to see. I saw an abundance of Monarchs this year but this was the only Tiger Swallowtail I saw all season. I feel lucky to have gotten these shots. Maybe I need to go back to wearing glasses. JK.

JK

Red Admiral Butterfly at Frank Melville Park

Monday, August 6, 2018,

This is a Red Admiral Butterfly. I didn’t know that when I took this photo. I’ve seen these beauties before but I never knew what it was till I was able to compare this pic to one of my field guides. I have dozens of field guides but only two of them concern butterflies specifically. As chance would have it, this particular butterfly graces the covers of both of them. Some folks must like this guy. I do.  JK

Another Good Year For Monarchs

Wednesday, July 25, 2018,

Monarch butterflies are in trouble. Many of you probably already know this but, perhaps, there are some of you who don’t. Monarch butterfly populations have been shrinking for a couple of decades. Loss of habitat appears to be a major contributing factor but it is by no means the only reason. Monarchs depend on Milkweed plants for both their sustenance and as nurseries for raising their young. And Milkweed is in decline across North America. There are several reasons for that, most of them related to human activities. But let’s not get bogged down with bad news. I want to talk about good news today.

The good news is that there are still places where Monarch butterflies can be found and in decent numbers. Last year, I saw more Monarchs than I had seen in a decade. Many of my friends noticed the same thing. These beautiful butterflies weren’t found everywhere but there were locations where they were very near plentiful. Avalon Park and Preserve was one of those places. The main reason for this is that Avalon has many, many Milkweed plants. Those are Milkweed flowers that the Monarchs in these photos are perched upon. And now, some more good news: This year is shaping up to be an even better year for Monarch butterflies than last year. As I walk along the open fields at Avalon I see more and more of these glorious insects. I think it’s going to be another banner year for both the Monarchs and my camera. JK