A Swallowtail Stops By

Western Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly

My photo above shows a beautiful example of the Western Tiger Swallowtail butterfly. This one spent a while in our front garden one afternoon earlier this week. These are very large butterflies; the wingspan of this one was about four inches.

Normally, although large and easy to see, these butterflies refuse to keep still for more than a moment, with the result that it’s almost impossible to get a good photograph of them. In this case, however, this individual seemed very happy to take its time and rest while feeding, so I was able to obtain a sharp image.

An Abundance of Butterflies

When I first set foot in California over thirty years ago (as described in an earlier post), it was a warm October and I was staying at a hotel in suburban San Mateo.

I really hadn’t thought much about the local wildlife here before making the journey, but I did expect it to be different from that in England. Among the first examples that I noticed were huge, brightly-colored butterflies, which were commonly to be seen flitting between flowers, even in fairly urban settings.

Of course, butterflies are common in England too, and many are brightly-colored, but those California species were particularly noticeable because of their size.

Below is another photo of the same Swallowtail.

Western Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly

A California Sister

Another native species of butterfly that appeared in our garden a few years ago, and which stayed still long enough to be photographed, was this slightly-bedraggled California Sister.

California Sister Butterfly

California’s most famous butterfly is perhaps the Monarch, notable because of its habit of migrating en masse. Although I’ve seen many of those over the years, none have yet stayed sufficiently still to be photographed by me! Nonetheless, I’ll just keep trying.

Western Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly