A pretty Black Swallowtail was keen on these pink blooms.
Once he found one to his liking he worked methodically around a flower head before moving on.
This Black Swallowtail took full advantage of a Buttonbush flower cluster, checking it out from multiple angles while upside down.
He rotated around the orb while constantly manipulating the flowers.
In typical butterfly fashion when he was done he just let go and flitted off.
A patch of thistle was growing at the edge of a parking area at Santee National Wildlife Refuge, Cuddo Unit. I suspect it was planted or at least encouraged by human intervention: it was a little too neat to be just wild.
An assortment of insects were working the thistle blooms, with a Black Swallowtail standing out.
The blooms were in all stages of development, some well on their way to releasing seeds for a new crop.
A pair of Black Swallowtails were doing their thing along the edge of a pond.
Quick poses then flitting along at full speed constituted much of the action.
Then they stopped for an interaction, somewhat shielded from my view by tall grass.
I liked the intersection of the curlicue vine with the butterfly’s antennae and the nicer view of the blue wing spots in this last image.
April 28. 2020
The four or five Swallowtails flitting around these thistle plants flew off when I drove by. I had room to stop, walked back and waited.
After a few minutes one returned and continued probing the thistle.
These butterflies were competing with some other flying insects, the tail end of one can be seen here sticking up out of the flower.
This Black Swallowtail Butterfly flitted along on the outside of the plants lining the walkway as I went along the edge of the pond, obscuring my view. Finally he landed in a fern and seemed to peak through the fronds.
He then moved to a more open area and spent some time on this statice type plant.
The plant was down an embankment putting me even with the Butterfly for part of his feeding.
The area just beyond these plants has recently been flooded as part of a plan to make an additional pond near the heron rookery. Next year the vegetation will likely be very different here.
A year ago I captured similar images of butterfly and plant at a different pond about 25 miles (40 Kilometers) from this spot and thought the plant to be Brazilian Vervain (Verbena brasiliensis). Black Swallowtail Butterfly is the post if you’d like to compare.
These flowers look awful small to offer much to a butterfly but this one persisted, moving steadily from flower to flower. The lack of leaves on this plant gave me a clear view.
He rotated and showed me every side while he was doing it.
Even upside down!
He easily walked across the tops of the flowers.
And hung off the side.
I believe the plant is Brazilian Vervain (Verbena brasiliensis), a non-native plant that grows wild along roadsides, in disturbed areas, old fields. (NameThatPlant.net, A storehouse of information about native and naturalized plants of the Carolinas and Georgia.)