A journey into the eyes and mind of a naturalist.

Backyard Butterflies

I am lucky enough to have a small vernal pond in my backyard that is home to all sorts of wildlife.  I would ultimately like to convert a large portion of my lawn into a native ‘garden’ to act as a buffer for the pond and to encourage more native wildlife.  This spring my wife and I planted parsley and dill in our small vegetable garden.  These two plants quickly grew well beyond our consumption rate.  They have taken over one corner of the garden.  I let them go in hopes of attracting a very specific type of butterfly.

Swallowtail Butterflies do no feed on Parsley and Dill as adults but they do lay their eggs on these two plants, among others.  I was sitting on my deck and noticed a bit of motion down by the garden.  What I found was this female Black Swallowtail delicately laying eggs on the giant Dill plant.

This butterfly is one that I had only seen from a distance and in books but has always been on my list to capture with my camera.  Luckily she took her time laying eggs and gave me the opportunity to document the event.

This picture is really washed out but I like how well it illustrates the thickness of the wings.  Butterflies seemingly float through the air on the thinnest of wings.

Abdomen chalked full of eggs this female spent about 15 minutes making her deposits.

Tiny yellow eggs were laid on the underside of each flower bud.  The eggs look just like the dill flower, perfectly camouflaged.  I visited the eggs each day until…

A tiny caterpillar emerges.  The caterpillar has been feeding on the protein rich flowers and is growing fast.  I have since removed the caterpillar and have it in my kitchen where I can keep it stocked with a fresh supply of Dill.  I will document the entire metamorphasis into an adult butterfly!

Up Next:  Hatchlings!


2 responses

  1. Kelly

    gorgeous pictures! I had no idea that our over grown dill was actually a good thing!!!!!

    September 2, 2010 at 14:11

  2. dana

    this is amazing! i am very impressed

    September 6, 2010 at 17:42

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