The morning sun slowly peeks over Little Elk Mountain. The cool of the night still lingers in the shadowy side of the hills. I have been catching up on a few light chores and happened to notice the rapid movements in the off lawn area of my property. I allow nature to take its course there and have been blessed with an abundance of Jewelweed there. Aside from foraging opportunities the Jewelweed provides humans it’s excellent forage for butterflies and bees as well as hummingbirds. So I’m also blessed to have an abundance of life that seems happy to share my space. Today it’s been Pipevine Swallowtail Butterflies. At first you only notice one or two. Then, a third and fourth. As you begin to look deeper into the bushes it hard to believe that you didn’t notice all the wings shivering as they feed.
So, into the house I went to abandon my lawnmower in favor of my big camera. I opted for the 300 mm lens so that I didn’t have to try to get real close. This allows the butterflies to behave naturally and keeps my shadow out of the frame.
As the butterfly in tonight’s feature image fed I noticed that only the forewings shiver. This is done to keep it warm enough for flight but while researching I saw one source that points out butterflies pump their wings while feeding because their proboscis works like a siphon and the wing movement helps them feed. I also learned that when they emerge from the cocoon they have to assemble the proboscis from the two mouth parts they’re born with and that if they don’t get it right they will starve.
Irregardless of the scientific trivia surrounding the butterfly they do fill my life with beauty.
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