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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

T ~ Tortoiseshell

Milbert's Tortoiseshell (Aglais milberti ) is one of the best butterflies for photography.  It is large and boldly colored making it possible to capture a useful image from a little further away than the more common, but smaller subjects.  I captured this photo walking down the road from Red Top lookout.  It is one of the best roads for seeing many different species of butterflies.

Their friendly habit of feeding along road and trail edges brings them into your path.  When they land, they will often present themselves open wing.  Mud and water is a attractant and they will calmly sip mud for the minerals.  This butterfly, alighting on a rock along a trickling water path is typical and it is possible to calmly snap pictures, edging closer and closer.

Butterfly photography is a discipline requiring immense patience.  Bountiful flowering plants, mud or water and low wind are key.

Sunshine to make the colors pop is a bonus.


  1. Thanks for the comments on the Derby Canyon post, Marti. It's interesting that we talked about doing exactly what you said, spending several days in the area exploring that canyon and others. I am sure there are many treasures to be found.

    We were in Spokane for several days but checked the Old Blewett Road again and still didn't find the Mountain lady's Slippers. I think they are probably finished by now, though our eyes are not as sharp as yours.

    We did find a lot of Piperia unalascensis and in one spot a lot of Platanthera dilatata and thousands of butterflies on the Creeping Snowberry. Also drove up to Lake Elizabeth (the road is open now).