Free to Fly

So, the coolest thing happened on Tuesday after work. I went down the alley across the street, where some of our outdoor feral (and non-feral) cats like to hang out. I go check down there most days to make sure nothing is amiss. About 4 houses down, there is a yard backing up to the alley with a ton of oleanders–very common here in Phoenix, we have them in our yard, too–and all of a sudden I saw butterflies everywhere! It was like being in a butterfly garden! There were at least ten of them.

These are Giant Swallowtails, a large butterfly that can measure up to 5 inches. These guys were more like 3 inches. They were flying in and out of the oleanders, frequently lighting. I rushed home to get my camera and went back. Unfortunately, it was a rare cloudy day in Phoenix and, amongst the huge oleanders, it was even darker so these are all flash photos…not my favorite way to get a shot.

But, still, I’m happy to have these as I seldom see butterflies and, if I do, I never have my camera with me.

Several had very torn and tattered wings but it didn’t seem to impede their flying ability. They were gorgeous.

Wednesday evening I went back to the alley with camera in tow. But I only saw 2 and they were extremely elusive, almost never landing. And, it was still overcast so I still had to use the flash. This series of photos is mostly from the first night but a couple are from the second night.

Tonight–Thursday–I went back. It was sunny, the way it normally is. Were they there? No, I didn’t see any at all. I guess they were just passing through, sadly.

But I finally captured the elusive butterfly, the same year I also captured the elusive hummingbird. 2011 is a big year for me.

They can live up to 8 months so I hope they still have many happy, flight-filled days ahead.

Bye, butterflies. Come back anytime.


7 thoughts on “Free to Fly

  1. You were lucky to be there at just the right time and get some nice shots of them! Do you suppose they were getting food from the Oleanders? Or maybe just a sheltered place to rest on their journey.


  2. How lucky you are to not only see these beauties, but to capture them on film. The elusiveness is what makes spotting them such a thrill, right?


  3. Beautiful captures of the oleandars and swallowtails! I get a variety of swallowtail fairly often in my garden, but only one at a time. So wonderful to come across a scene like this!


  4. I saw this back when you posted it and I thought these photos were great!! Swallowtails are beautiful. I was surprised to see one the other day also – maybe I haven’t been paying enough attention, but I feel like I haven’t seen any of them in quite awhile!


  5. Checking your site since the El Maya incidence. Butterflies brought back to mind the yearly influx of yellow butterflies across the street from where Los Olivos restaurant, in Old Town Scottsdale, is now located. I think the attraction must have been the alfalfa fields there. Not Old! Just saying.

    Great floral pics also!


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