September 4, 2015 garden 019


It was at the end of a long, steamy watering and weeding session when I first spotted her.  There she was, vividly bright and different from the other black swallowtail butterflies we’re accustomed to hosting in the garden.

She was feeding on the Lantana, behind me, as I crashed through the shrub border pulling the hose back towards its spot by the house.


September 4, 2015 garden 018


At first, I just stopped to watch her; afraid any further movement might startle her away.  But she and her companions kept right on feeding, flower to flower, choosing to ignore my sudden presence.


September 4, 2015 garden 024


So I slipped the camera from my pocket, powered it on, and zoomed in for a capture.  She startled, but soon returned, warily continuing her progress from flower to flower in pursuit of warm, sweet nectar.


September 4, 2015 garden 013~

This is a different species of swallowtail butterfly spotted for the first time today in our garden.  She is the first swallowtail I’ve noticed whose wings carry such vibrant yellow markings and whose body is covered in white polka dots.


September 4, 2015 garden 016


I kept following her around the Lantana, trying to capture the perfect photo before she took off again.  My partner thinks there may have been more than one individual of this type after studying the photos.  He may be right.


September 4, 2015 garden 020


We’ll continue to try to identify her.  So far the closest I’ve gotten is possibly a Spicebush Swallowtail butterfly.  Many of the photos posted online of the Spicebush Swallowtail show more blue markings, and lack the bright yellow on the wings.  Do you recognize her?  Can you help us identify her?

It is hot here today, and it was time for me to retreat back in to the cool shade of the house.  We’re hoping for rain this afternoon, as the soil is still very dry and many plants look wilted.  Leaves are turning brown and dropping, some ferns disappearing.


September 4, 2015 garden 021~

As the season marches on towards autumn, we expect to see more butterfly species stop for a while in the garden to feed and rest along their path of migration.  We are watching for the first of the Monarchs to appear one day soon.

But today we enjoyed this beauty, and hope she will perhaps lay a few eggs while she is here.


September 4, 2015 garden 026~

Woodland Gnome 2015


About woodlandgnome

Lifelong teacher and gardener.

12 responses to “Debut

  1. It gets me confused but I love how many different swallowtails there are out there, and the variety in a single species is great! What a beautiful one you have there 🙂

  2. It is the female black swallowtail I believe, which has more markings and colour than the male. Look here:

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