I finished a little bit of work in the garden and decided to take a few pictures before going in. The clump of 3 butterfly bushes in the moon garden attracted the most visitors now (which wasn’t many).

“Bright orange” flew in, around the butterfly bushes and landed.

A gulf fritillary!!!!! A rare stray from the south was here in my garden, posing for pictures.

Naturally, a strong wind blew. The butterfly didn’t stay long at any flower cluster. This was only the second one I’ve seen in the yard for many years.

The gulf fritillary’s wingspan measures 2 1/2 to 2 7/8 wide. The light spots underneath on the hindwings were actually silver. They looked like shiny mirrors in certain angles.

Gulf fritillaries (Agraulis vanillae) lay their eggs on passion flowers. Their range covers the southern U.S. and they emigrate northward during the summer. The ones that make it up to southern Illinois don’t survive the winter. The passion flowers don’t either.

The encounter ended as quickly as it started. Now I can breathe.


10 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Therese on October 24, 2012 at 9:18 am

    I can just feel your excitement! You know, you might want to think about having an oxygen tank nearby for just such occasions. Beautiful pictures, by the way.


  2. I know that excitement and I LOVE when it happens!


  3. Beautiful shots..:-)


  4. Wonderful shots. I am still so new to this business that I get breathless about photographing new things all the time. That sure is a beautiful butterfly. Wow.


    • I knew is was a rare butterfly, didn’t know if it would “sit” down. Luckily, it cooperated enough for 10-12 pictures. These 4 were the best. I talked to it in my mind. Think it helped.


  5. Fantastic captures Kathy! So happy you saw him too, you have such a great eye with nature!


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