I posted another in this sequence of images the other day. I was delighted to watch this Coral Hairstreak working a Wood Lily on the Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area here in Southern Maine. As this panel shows, and I tried to describe in the previous post, the butterfly worked its way across the flower and then back again as I watched. Sony RX10iv at 600mm optical equivalent, plus enough Clear Image Zoom to fill the frame. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and assembled in Framemagic.
This shot will justify the largest view you can provide 🙂 It was a cool, dry, sunny day in Southern Maine yesterday so my ebike photoprowl was delightful. And in the midst of the delight, while photographing more Wood Lilies out on the Rt. 99 side of the Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area, something caught at the corner of my eye and I turned in time to see this Coral Hairstreak land in another Wood Lily. It proceeded to harvest something from the petals, dragging its proboscis across the surface, working its way down one petal and back up, before moving on to the next petal. Here it is poised for the turn, with its proboscis tightly curled. Coral Hairstreaks are common on the Plains in July, and around the Wood Lilies (this is not the first I have photographed on a Lily), but here the light is perfect and the composition eye-catching. Beautiful flower. Attractive butterfly. What more could you ask for? Sony RX10iv at 600mm optical equivalent, plus enough Clear Image Zoom to fill the frame. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr.
As part of our photoprowl when my friend Stef visited last week, we went to East Point in Biddeford Pool. There were stands of Daisy on the brink of the headland above the rocky shore, probably Oxeye, an invasive plant along our coast, and there were many Pearly Crescent Butterflies working the flowers. Sony RX10iv at 1200mm equivalent (600 optical plus 2x Clear Image Zoom). Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr.
While visiting Saco Heath last week with my friend Stef, we were treated to this Tiger Swallowtail feeding on the Sheep Laurel next to the Atlantic Cedar grove at the end of the boardwalk. I am still not sure how to distinguish Canada from Eastern, though the Colby College butterfly list has Eastern only as a “Rare Stray” in Maine. The safe bet then is Canada Tiger Swallowtail. The real zone of overlap seems to be in Northern Massachusetts…which is not so far south of us as the crow flies. 🙂 Sony RX10iv at 600mm optical and 2x Clear Image Zoom for 1200mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr.
I have been seeing Tiger Swallowtails in the forest for several weeks now, and not been able to get one to light long enough for a photo. I have pretty much stopped chasing them. Yesterday, this one was sipping minerals on Gravely Brook Road near Emmon’s Preserve in rural Kennebunkport. I have had success in similar situations in the past, so I stopped my ebike and, with patience, caught it several times in several different poses. Since we are here in Maine, at the northern edge of the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail range, and the southern edge of the Canadian Tiger Swallowtail range, it is impossible for me to tell which it is. It might be possible for someone who really knows…but not for me. Canadian is supposed be, on average, smaller than Eastern…but with a single specimen size is hard to judge. All I know is that it is big and bright and beautiful! Sony RX10iv at 1200mm equivalent (600 optical plus 2x Clear Image Zoom). Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr.
Pic for today: Blue Doctor Butterfly
We were on our way back from a hike in the secondary rainforest at La Selva Biological Station in the Sarapiqui River Valley of the Caribbean lowlands in Costa Rica when this amazing butterfly flitted across the path in front of us. We immediately started calling for John, the bug guy in our group, to come running and get a picture of it. It was like nothing either I, or John, had ever seen before…well, it was a bit like a swallowtail, but I had certainly never seen anything with this color pattern. It took a bit of searching when I got home, but I tracked it down as a metalmark, the Blue Doctor, Rhetus periander, one of three similar Rhetus species in Central and South America. Some authorities have it ranging from Mexico to Peru, some limit its range in the north to Costa Rica. It is generally listed as “common” in its range, but elusive. Amazing bug! Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode. Processed in Polarr.
It was a very slow day for birds in the Rio Grande Valley. We went to Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge. Lots of butterflies and dragonflies…more than I have seen there in years, but practically no bird activity. Very strange. After Santa Ana we went to Fronteria Audubon in Weslaco, Texas where the buzz of the day was a intermittently visible Golden-winged Warbler. We missed the warbler by minutes on several occasions, but again the butterflies did not disappoint. This Clouded Sulphur on Turk’s Cap was one of the last photos I took there before heading back to the hotel to cool off before evening activities. Sometimes nature provides light you would be hard pressed to duplicate in the studio. I should add a disclaimer here. I am not a butterfly expert and if someone were to tell me this is an Orange Sulphur and not a Clouded, I would not be totally surprised and in no way offended. 🙂 Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode. Processed in Polarr.
I saw these giant thistles in bloom along the first mile of Blackpoint Wildlife Drive at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge in Titusville Florida every time I drove the loop, but it was not until my last visit of the trip that I forced myself to take a moment for a photo. I think they are just Bull Thistle, a common weed, but the specimens on Blackpoint were certainly spectacular. This was my 3rd and final thistle stop. I pulled over because of the particularly intense color but was rewarded with the perfect contrast in the Florida White feeding deep in the bloom.
Sony Rx10iii at 24mm equivalent field of view. Program mode. f4 @ 1/250th @ ISO 100. Processed in Polarr on my iPad Pro.
My last full, non-travel, morning in South Africa I was at Marc’s Treehouse Lodge, operated by Viva Safaris. It is on a private Game Reserve west of the Orpen Gate at Kruger National Park. I decided to forego the scheduled activity and just spend the morning wandering around the grounds of the Lodge with my camera to see what I could see. I was very thankful to the staff at Marc’s for letting me do that. I stayed fairly close to the cabins and tents at the Lodge, as Marc’s is an unfenced camp and there is always the chance of the wandering Cape Buffalo or even Leopard on the grounds. I was looking mostly for smaller birds, as that is what I was missing from my African experience and all the game drives in high vehicles. As I mentioned in previous posts, South Africa and Kruger in particular, are well into a major drought, and it is the end of a long dry winter there, so birds were scarce, even in the trees along the river below the camp. I did see Pied Kingfisher and Little Bee-eater, both amazing birds, and that would have made my morning, but it was really the Sunbirds I wanted closer looks at. I was able to photograph the White-bellied Sunbird in the collage above several times that morning, and glimpsed at least two others during my walk…Scarlet-breasted and one of the yellow ones. (I got a record shot of the Scarlet-breasted the next morning before boarding the van for Johannesburg.) I love the Sunbirds…colored like a hummingbird and filling much the same niche…but with size, flight, and song of a finch. The Southern Black Tit was working the trees just at the edge of the sandy bed of the river, and the Yellow-breasted Apalis was in the vegetation around the pool just below the lodge where the giraffes come to drink. The Citrus Swallowtail was basking by the same pool. I was happy to ID this as the Citrus Swallowtail of Southern Africa and not the much more common, and closely related, Lemon Swallowtail, which is a problem butterfly in North Africa…invasive as far east as China and some of the South Pacific Islands, and as far west as Central America. I also photograhed a Red-capped Robin-chat, but was not able to get a really sharp image in the dense thicket it preferred. All in all, a very worthwhile morning.
All shots with the Sony RX10iii, at 600mm equivalent field of view. Program Mode. Processed in Lightroom and assembled in Coolage.
These might just be my favorite butterflies in the whole world…and they are even more special in that I only see them when visiting the highlands of Central America…in this case the mountains just below the continental divide overlooking Bocas del Toro, Panama. This is both of the species possible in these mountains. We are at Tranquilo Bay Lodge for a week of birding and photography in this amazing corner of the tropics.
Sony RX10iii at 600mm equivalent field of view. Program Mode. Processed and cropped for scale in PhotoShop Express on my Android tablet.