DURING THESE SHORTEST DAYS OF THE YEAR, I bring you light – butterfly light. Over the weekend, I encountered 26 butterfly species at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum outside Tucson, 24 of which I managed to photograph. (Those Pipevine Swallowtails and that lone Checkered White were too fast for my shutter.)
Highlights for me included Leda Ministreak — both summer and winter forms nectaring together on one of the fairy duster species (Calliandra sp.), which was erupting in red fireworks at the preserve. But top honors for nectar plant goes to Wolfberry (Lycium brevipes), a shrub in the Nightshade family (Solanacea) on whose violet flowers I found about 20 butterfly species (and a few hummingbirds) nectaring.
The place was lousy with Queens and Ladies – Queen being the Monarch relative and Ladies being Painted Lady, probably hundreds of each. I found only one exception among the Ladies – a West Coast Lady (pictured above).
Here’s a montage.