Butterflies are supposed to be the “next thing” for birders. When you’ve learned bird ID to your satisfaction and are looking for a new challenge, you take up butterfly-watching. Well, I know next to nothing about how to identify butterflies – clearly for me the next thing was actually wildflowers. However, when I recently found a couple dead butterflies in good condition along the trails, I couldn’t resist picking them up and carrying them back to my room with me to photograph. I’m such a nerd.
This is an eastern tiger swallowtail. (Ah, the wonders of the internet – all I do to was Google “Ohio butterflies” and I found a website with pictures and brief life histories for all the butterflies of the Buckeye State.) Apparently the blue color around the lower edges of the wings means it’s a female. I had no idea some butterflies are sexually dimorphic!
This next one is a zebra swallowtail.
According to the internet, this species’ host is the pawpaw tree, a wild fruit tree that’s a really big deal in certain parts of Ohio, though I’ve never actually eaten pawpaw fruit. There’s even an Ohio Pawpaw Festival. I only recently learned that there are some pawpaw trees on our property (though apparently beating critters to the ripe fruit is nearly impossible), so it was cool to find a pawpaw-dependent butterfly!
I have today off and so far am thoroughly enjoying my three-day weekend; a birding excursion this morning yielded Baltimore Orioles, Orchard Orioles, and a Sora, among other things. Remember to get outside and enjoy the nice spring weather!