Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for December 30th, 2012

The expected on the unexpected

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Click for greater clarity.

About a month ago I was driving in north-central Austin and thought I spotted a Texas thistle flowering, something I’ve never seen with Cirsium texanum, which normally blooms in the spring and fades away by summer. I decided to go back the next day and check it out, but there was one little problem: I couldn’t remember exactly where I’d seen the might-have-been thistle.

Two or three weeks went by, and then, on a sunny December 18th, when I was almost back at my car after a photo foray at Twin Lakes Park and the Brushy Creek Regional Trail in Cedar Park, I found not only a Texas thistle flowering in December but an orange sulphur butterflyColias eurytheme, nectaring on it.

As was true with the red admiral you recently saw here, this butterfly was so caught up in what it was doing that it mostly didn’t mind my getting close and taking pictures. Even when I unintentionally frightened it away a couple of times, it quickly came back and started right in on the flowers again.

John and Gloria Tveten have interesting things to say about the orange sulphur butterfly, in case you’d like to read more. I bought their book years ago and recommend it to anyone who wants a good field guide to the butterflies of eastern (and central) Texas.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 30, 2012 at 6:19 AM

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