Butterfly Days

There have been a lot of butterflies around our home here in southern Florida – but very hard to photograph. They tend to disappear in the time it takes me to move my camera up to my eye. There have been even more in the Naples Botanical Garden.

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I think this is a Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebus Sennae) – what drew me in was how well camouflaged it is among the leaves. I found it funny that the spots on the wings look just like spots I have removed from leaves with Lightroom’s spot remover. How clever nature is.

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In the Brazilian Garden, I had a chat with one of the volunteers who pointed out an orchid that was growing in a tree behind the pavilion, down toward the lake. I headed down to take a look…

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but was distracted by this little beauty, an Atala.

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What my camera (or Lightroom) couldn’t capture to its fullest is the iridescent turquoise spots. My eye was drawn to the orange spot on the wing, down close to the body. And he posed for me – maybe enjoying the heat of the sun in contrast to the cool morning air.

My goal that morning was to enjoy the quiet and tranquility of early mornings in the garden, so I continued down the path along the lake toward the bench down the way. Little did I know I would be entertained by an osprey nesting on the other side of the lake.

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There were probably eggs in the nest because, after this stance to ward off the attacker, she spread her wings down low to shield the eggs. As I sat watching her I heard some people behind me commenting on a daisy tree. So I followed my curiosity a few feet behind me…

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and it was – a Daisy Tree, with lots of butterflies fluttering mostly around its 15-20 foot canopy. But a couple fluttered lower – within camera range.

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Notice how the orange spot on the wing is the same color as its body. I wonder if this spot confuses attackers so they hit the spot instead of the more vulnerable body. Any butterfly experts out there who knows the facts?

This is a new one for me – a Gulf Fritillary and I think it rises to the top of my list of beautiful butterflies. Even with its damaged wing.

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