Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Same visitor, different view, additional colors and patterns

with 19 comments

Click for greater clarity.

The edge-on view of the red admiral, Vanessa atalanta, that you saw in the last post emphasized the red-orange coloring on the butterfly’s dorsal surface but gave no hint of the ventral side’s colors and patterns. Now you get to see them, just as you once again get to see an antelope-horns milkweed, Asclepias asperula. By the way, this is not just the same species of butterfly as last time, but the same individual. Date: April 11. Location: TX 71 west of Austin.

Although butterflies fly mostly rightside up, once they land they seem at home in whatever orientation makes it easy for them to draw nectar from flowers. At the time I took this picture, that meant upside down.

(Before today’s two pictures, a red admiral appeared once in these pages, when it was a small element in the lower-left corner of a panorama showing a resurgent wildflower meadow. In that photograph the butterfly was on a blackfoot daisy, but the picture coincidentally gave pride of place to antelope-horns milkweed.)

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 22, 2012 at 12:50 PM

19 Responses

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  1. Look at that! Red, white and blue decoration for Memorial Day!


    May 22, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    • Thanks for pointing that out, complete with the word decoration to remind us that the holiday used to be called Decoration Day. I’ll add that every day in nature strikes me as a decorative day.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 22, 2012 at 3:15 PM

  2. I seem to be seeing lots more butterflies this spring in my garden, and I’m enjoying it immensely. On the flip side, the garden is being eaten up by caterpillars and insects, probably a result of our very mild winter. Oh well, such is life. I’m glad you’re including a little wildlife in the wildflower photos.

    Mind Margins

    May 22, 2012 at 3:40 PM

    • For variety I’ve always included occasional pictures of various critters, and I plan to keep doing so. Like you, I’ve seen plenty of butterflies this season and more caterpillars than I usually do, thanks to our non-winter and an average amount of rain.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 22, 2012 at 3:46 PM

  3. Beautiful, love butterflies!!!!


    May 22, 2012 at 5:03 PM

  4. Great capture.
    I don’t think I’ve seen a butterfly with so much pattern on its wings before.


    May 22, 2012 at 6:22 PM

  5. So pretty and delicate.. I love the little teal blue hearts across the wings…

    Just A Smidgen

    May 22, 2012 at 6:50 PM

  6. Your exquisite photo of the red admiral put me in mind of Milly, over at Drawings from Nature, who has focused in, in her most recent post, on the orange-tipped butterfly: http://drawingsfromnature-milly.blogspot.com/2012/05/buuterfly-love.html

    Susan Scheid

    May 22, 2012 at 9:20 PM

    • Thanks for the link, Susan. We have the falcate orangetip (I think that’s the same butterfly) here in Texas, too, but I don’t think I’ve ever photographed it. I’d like to.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 22, 2012 at 9:41 PM

      • I’ll look forward to that, should it occur. Meanwhile, I love the red admiral. Such a beauty.

        Susan Scheid

        May 24, 2012 at 8:40 PM

  7. I love the patterns and colors of butterflies and this one is amazing!


    May 23, 2012 at 9:23 AM

  8. La nature fait un travail d’artiste.


    May 24, 2012 at 4:56 AM

  9. […] Vanessa atalanta, a red admiral butterfly. On the sunny morning of December 13th I saw perhaps a dozen of them in the half-hour that I spent […]

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