Wings of Summer: Butterflies and Hummingbirds

Female Tiger Swallowtails on butterfly bush.

Female Tiger Swallowtails on butterfly bush.

Most summers, I’m outside with my dogs and BUTTERFLY! Off I’d go to try and take a picture of one of those gorgeous jeweled distractions.

Then I’ll put my camera down and HUMMINGBIRD!

I can’t help myself. A butterfly is like a flower that suddenly breaks free of its stem to fly someplace better, constantly changing is mind along the way.

Hummingbirds seem to defy physics in an effortlessly beautiful and completely fascinating way.

Both bring out the photographer in me; I just have to keep taking pictures of them, even if I have 8,762 butterfly or hummingbird photos already.

Recently, I went back through the pictures I took this summer and picked out the best ones.  It helps keep the diverse beauty and glory of these delightful winged creatures with me just a little longer.

The most common visitors to my garden were swallowtails.

Female Tiger Swallowtails on butterfly bush.

Female Tiger Swallowtail on butterfly bush

Spicebush Swallowtail on lantana

Spicebush Swallowtail on lantana

There’s always an assortment of what butterfly enthusiasts refer to as LBBs: little brown butterflies. At first glance, they seem the same. Up close, you start to notice differences.

Sachem butterfly  on lantana

Sachem butterfly on butterfly bush

Silver-spotted Skipper on lantana

Silver-spotted Skipper on lantana

Fiery skipper basking on lantana leaf

Fiery Skipper basking on lantana leaf

Sometimes you have to look really carefully to even see the elusive creatures. Perhaps because they’re hidden.

Little Wood Satyr

Little Wood Satyr on cedar tree.

Or underfoot.

Pearl crescent on clover

Pearl crescent on clover

Or incredibly small.

Red banded hairstreak on hydrangea leaf

Red-banded Hairstreak on hydrangea leaf

Or on the move.

A Spicebush Swallowtail flies past Lilah.

A Spicebush Swallowtail flies past Lilah. Every year I try to take a picture of a butterfly in flight. I have yet to accomplish that goal.

I love them all, but am particularly attracted to the dramatic ones.

Red-spotted Purple butterfly on lantana

Red-spotted Purple butterfly on lantana

Pipevine Swallowtail on phlox

Pipevine Swallowtail on phlox

I think the Great Spangled Fritillary gets a prize for the best butterfly name. It reminds me of an old-fashioned exclamation, as in: “Great spangled fritillary, Martha! The bears are in the blueberry patch!”

Great Spangled Fritillary on butterfly bush

Great Spangled Fritillary on butterfly bush

I’m also a fan of Monarchs, though we’ve been seeing less each year. I think we were just a migration rest stop for the few we saw.

Monarch butterfly on butterfly bush

Monarch butterfly on butterfly bush

Then there are the other interesting creatures who visit my garden. Like the clearwing hummingbird moth.

A Spicebush Swallowtail flies past Lilah.

Clearwing hummingbird moth on salvia

And of course, the hummingbirds themselves. This is my favorite photo of the summer.

Hummingbird feeding from salvia

Hummingbird feeding from salvia

Starting in August the hummingbirds get very territorial, and fight aerial battles, beaks clicking and the zip and zoom across the yard.

Two hummingbirds battle.

Sometimes hummingbirds guard their favorite feeders, chasing away possible interlopers.

Now it’s October, our resident hummers have left, and the last of the migrating hummingbirds have passed through our yard. My still-blooming garden, once full of fluttering wings, is ruled by bees instead of butterflies.

Until next year…

Butterflies in flight

The closest I came to a decent photo of butterflies in flight.

Are there photos opportunities that you can’t resist?

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6 Comments on "Wings of Summer: Butterflies and Hummingbirds"

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  1. Those are amazing pictures! This year we had a more than usual number of dragonflies around. I never got a good picture. One day there were 10 dancing around us. It was so cool!

  2. Deziz World says:

    Those awe sum gweat fotos fur sure.

    Luv ya’

    Dezi and Lexi

  3. Daisy says:

    Wow you got some spectacular photos there! You get many more butterfly varieties than we do. We had only about one Monarch this year, and usually we get lots. It’s sad to see their numbers dwindling. I thoroughly enjoyed your gorgeous pics!

  4. jan says:

    I love the contrast you got between the amazing creatures and the background of the photos.

  5. meowmeowmans says:

    Such wonderful photos of some really amazing creatures! How lucky you are to have so many varieties of butterflies!

  6. Wowza, you got some fabulous photos! Love that swallowtail on the phlox! And love that “old-fashioned exclamation”-named butterfly. Don’t you think a great diservice was done when they were named butterflies instead of flutterbys??

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