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Some recent Butterflies
Lens: Mostly Sigma 105 macro Camera: K20D Photo Location: East Tennessee 
Posted By: mole, 08-26-2011, 04:18 PM

Late Summer is a great time for butterfly watching here in East Tennessee. Here are a few samples from the past week or two:

Tawny Emperors are rather shy, but they do enjoy the taste of sweat!

Common Wood Nymphs live a long time (for a butterfly) - emerging in May and still flying into October. This guy looks rather tattered - he's had a hard few months of life!

Common Buckeyes spend a lot of time puddling these days - licking at damp places along the old gravel roads to get extra minerals.

Pipevine Swallowtails are much more common (here in East Tennessee) at the higher elevations, where their caterpillars' food source (Dutchman's Pipevine) is more common. But this one came to visit us in the lower country (Taken with Pentax A 70-210).

Thistles are in full bloom now, a great place to spot many nectaring butterflies, including this Tiger Swallowtail.

Here are two butterfly predators. First a little Crab Spider waiting at an Ironweed flower to catch an unsuspecting butterfly snack!

And last but not least, another "critter" who enjoys the taste of butterfly - a rather rare dragonfly here in East Tennessee called a Flag-Tailed Spinylegs. Those spines on his legs help him grab butterflies "on the wing!" (Taken with Sigma 70-300 APO)

Thanks for looking and thanks for any comments & critique!!
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08-26-2011, 04:50 PM   #2
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Great photo series and narrative on each species. thanks for sharing, Bob
08-26-2011, 05:09 PM   #3
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Bob -thanks for your kind words - so glad you enjoyed the photos and the words...
08-27-2011, 02:05 AM   #4
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Lovely pictures of lovely creatures.

Lately I have been chasing butterflies myself. I even saw a Giant Swallow tail which is rare up here in Minnesota. I'm just on the Northernmost fringe for this species. Otherwise Easterns are common right now.
All the usual suspects - Cabbage Whites, various Sulphurs, Buckeye, Viceroy, Red Admiral, Emperors, Skippers etc. Hummingbird moths very common in our garden right now.

I have the same gear as you - a K20+105mm Sigma macro. Often I also use the Tammy 18-200mm macro. It has the advantage over the Sigma macro of getting a full frame shot of a butterfly at about 2-3 feet at 200mm. Not as sharp as the Sigma but not bad either.

I also have the Sigma 70-300mm APO. Too soft at 300mm for macro and at 200mm no better than the Tammy, if as good, but a lot bigger so I use the Tammy.

Butterflies have become a nice break from my usual birding shots.

Thanks for the pics and the comments,

Last edited by wildman; 08-27-2011 at 02:17 AM.
08-27-2011, 04:18 AM   #5
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Enjoyed the series very much. Could there be a book in the making?...
08-27-2011, 12:13 PM   #6
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Wow these are beautiful Enjoyed the series.
08-27-2011, 06:04 PM   #7
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Wildman - Thanks so much! Giant Swallowtails are pretty scarce here too. Agree that the Sigma 70-300 is a bit soft, but stopping down to F11 seems to help considerably.

Daniel - So glad you enjoyed these! I use photos like these as part of my (nature education) work, but have toyed with the idea of a book as well...

Crewl1 - They are indeed beautiful "critters." Glad you enjoyed the snapshots!
08-27-2011, 06:27 PM   #8
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Exellent images, all of them and thanks for posting them. I had never heard of never mind seen a Flag-Tailed Spinylegs, interesting Dragonfly.


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