The swallowtail Butterfly is a larger species of butterfly we have here on our small plot of land. It is about that time to plant for some of us, some flowers have already bloomed or are growing. Seeding time for us here in the high desert of Oregon is getting near and I can hardly wait!!
To attract these lovelies to the garden is not real hard, just need to find the flowers they like to feed on. The Zinnia is the first of these flowers I would like to speak of for they are pretty and found at most stores in the garden area.
I personally leave the Zinnias in the ground from start to finish. This gives the butterflies something to eat even though to us the flowers may no longer look desirable, however we are not butterflies!
As for photography, I like photographing the butterflies when they first come from their cocoon. All butterflies are the most colorful , vibrant and unharmed from predators at this time.
Zinnia flowers come in all flavors. These zinnia flowers of ours are "dahlia", zinnias. They grow oh, two feet tall.
I personally spend a lot of time outdoors when the weather gets nice and everything is blooming. What I find interesting about the butterfly and other insects is the details of day to day life. This of course means I have a lot of photographs that to the untrained eye are not different. However, for us who love detail we notice each photograph is different and lots of activity going on!
After some time of being out in the Zinnia flowers the swallowtails do start to ignore me, going on with their day to day life's. Of course depending on the competition they have for the flowers!! One or two swallowtails, ya they may just fly off. A dozen or more swallowtails and they tend to not care so much about what I am doing.
I also do not see one color of the Zinnia flower getting more attention from another color of the Zinnia flower from the Swallowtail Butterflies. The Zinnia Flowers even have several different insects feeding off the same flower!
One thing I have not noticed is the Swallowtail Butterfly laying eggs on the Zinnia Flowers. I do not have any proof though I think the Swallowtails would much rather lay eggs in the Lilac bushes and the trees that give the caterpillars a much better food source then the Zinnia Flowers.
Sometimes more then one Swallowtail Butterfly can be captured with the camera.
Mostly though, I like to get right up and personal with one Swallowtail Butterfly. For photography folks out there, I do use manual settings AND no tripod. Manual lens for the auto just does not cut it for me. Just a personal choice and using the tripod is to restrictive for this type of photography for me. Keep in mind this is a personal choice..... As for the natural light, well we can not dictate to butterflies, Swallowtail or otherwise when it is time to being active ! We are in their world. The butterflies are NOT in our world if we want to capture with the camera their day to day natural life.
If we want to attract the Butterflies we have to find the flowers they like to eat. We also need to keep in mind their water source. If their is a food source and no water source for them, we may get some to our garden. Then the butterflies have to leave for a drink. If we supply the butterflies with a water source, and a food source well..... we will see a increase in the butterfly activity. We water two times a day and leave a muddy area for the butterflies and other insects. Not real fancy, nor does this way of ours cost us any money other then the water we use.
I will do a series of the Swallowtail Butterfly here in our garden and what flowers I have found that the Swallowtail like from my own observations. Might give you some ideas of what to plant in your own garden?
I do have MANY more photographs of the Swallowtail Butterfly that are common here in the High Desert of Oregon here