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Posts Tagged ‘Phyciodes tharos’

Beauty can often be found in small things in ordinary situations. On Thursday I captured this image of a beautiful Pearl Crescent butterfly (Phyciodes tharos) feeding on a dandelion while I was exploring in Prince William County with fellow dragonfly enthusiast Walter Sanford. Although we were focused on searching for dragonflies, most of you know that I am an opportunistic photographer and will take a photo of almost anything that catches my eye.

I am not completely certain about the identification of this butterfly—I have trouble distinguishing between a Silvery Checkerspot butterfly (Chlosyne nycteis) and a Pearl Crescent butterfly. In fact, I am not really sure if this is a dandelion or one of a number of small flowers that are similar in appearance.

The funny thing is, though, that I am totally unconcerned about the accuracy of my identification in this case. This image is more about art than it is about science. It is about light and color and patterns and details. I encourage you to click on the image and immerse yourself in the enlarged image. You will be amazed to see the speckles in the butterfly’s eyes and the flecks of pollen on its extended proboscis.

Beauty can often be found in small things in ordinary situations.

Pearl Crescent

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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It is now rare for me to spot an insect when I am walking about in nature with my camera. There is still a chance that I might spot a dragonfly—a few Autumn Meadowhawks are normally around in late November—or maybe a butterfly. I held off posting this image of a butterfly that I spotted a couple of weeks ago at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge in the hope that I would continue to see more.

Now I accept the distinct possibility that this beautiful little Pearl Crescent butterfly (Phyciodes tharos) may be the last butterfly of the season for me. Fortunately there will be new photographic opportunities for me in the coming months as I turn my attention and my long telephoto zoom lens almost exclusively to birds.

Pearl Crescent butterfly

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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There were so many butterflies concentrated in a small patch of swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) that they looked like a bouquet of orange flowers when I first spotted them on Tuesday at Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge. I believe that they are all Pearl Crescent butterflies (Phyciodes tharos), though there is also a chance that they might be the similar-looking Silvery Checkerspot butterfly (Chlosyne nycteis).

pearl crescent

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Last Saturday I spotted this Pearl Crescent butterfly (Phyciodes tharos) on what looks to be a Black-eyed Susan flower (Rudbeckia hirta) at Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge. Initially the butterfly’s wings were open, which made for an ok shot. When the butterfly partially closed its wings, however, the light coming from the back helped to illuminate one wing like a stained glass window.

It is amazing how a slight change in the position of a subject can radically change the feel of an image—that is one of the reason why I like to shoot in short bursts, hoping to capture a variety of poses in a short period of time.

Pearl Crescent

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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On Monday I spotted this small patch of Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa) at Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge. True to its name, the Butterfly Weed had attracted several butterflies, which I think are Pearl Crescent butterflies (Phyciodes tharos), as well as several metallic green sweat bees (genus Agapostemon). The insects seemed to love the plant’s nectar and the scene provided a visual feast for viewers like me.

butterfly weed

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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It’s springtime and love is in the air. So many creatures seem to be searching for mates and some of them have obviously found one, like this pair of Pearl Crescent butterflies (Phyciodes tharos) that I spotted in flagrante delicto at Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge in Northern Virginia this past Friday.

I am no expert in butterfly anatomy and have no idea how this works, but there is a real beauty in the position, which appropriately looks  to me like a double heart. What can I say, I am a romantic at heart.

Pearl Crescent

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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I chased this little orange butterfly through the woods for quite some time this past weekend in an effort to get my first butterfly image of the season, a Pearl Crescent butterfly (Phyciodes tharos). It may not be as big and brightly colored as some of the butterflies that I may encounter later in the season, but I find a real beauty in its minimal color palette and intricate design.

butterfly_may_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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With thousands of gorgeous flowers blooming at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, Maryland today, this beautiful butterfly, which I think is a Variegated Fritillary (Euptoieta claudia), chose to land on a lowly dandelion growing at the edge of a walkway. Why did it make that choice?

I had been chasing this butterfly around though several sections of the garden, hoping desperately that it would land somewhere within range of my 100mm macro lens. When it did finally land, I approached it cautiously and got a few shots handheld that came out pretty well. I am also including a shot that gives you an idea of the setting—there was a landscape timber to the left and a series of stone tiles that made up the walkway, and the dandelion was growing low to the ground at the edge of the walkway. The lighting was less than optimal, but sometimes you have to work with what you have, especially when the subject is likely to fly away at any moment.

I deliberated for quite some time over the identification of the butterfly. At first, I was sure that it was a Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos), which is orange and has brown spots. As I looked at more photos, though, I changed my mind and now think that it may be a Variegated Fritillary.

As always, I welcome assistance on the identification of my subjects.

pearl2_blogpearl1_blogpearl3_blogMichael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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Here are a couple of shots of a Pearl Crescent butterfly (Phyciodes tharos) that I took yesterday at Huntley Meadows Park in Alexandria, Virginia. The Gardens With Wings website cautions that the Pearl Crescent resembles several other butterflies and the patterns of Pearl Crescent butterflies are variable, according to Wikipedia. I apologize in advance, therefore, if I have misidentified this butterfly, but I think we can all agree that he is amazingly beautiful.

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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