Hello Friends and Family,

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The Butterflies Are Back!

Julia Glorious spring (at least in Arizona) when the butterflies return to the Marshall Butterfly Pavilion at the Desert Botanical Garden (one of my favs). These are butterflies that you can find locally — and lots of them inside a screened-in tent — hundreds, maybe thousands, but definitely LOTS of them. Yes, I have written about this event previously but it is so spectacular I hope you will indulge me with another splash of beauty. The lovely in this photo is named Julia.

Two Julias And when two Julias get together in the feeding dish, they seem to be talking about the number of human guests who have some to visit today. Hmmm, that orange is good.

Queen Here comes the queen — specially Danaus gilippus — but you know that, right? She seems to be dining royally on floral ambrosia.

Zebra Longwing Next we spotted a Zebra Longwing climbing into a tulip for its next meal.

Giant SwallowtailOh look — it's a Giant Swallowtail — spreading his wings to warm up this early morning. Maybe he should have shifted into the sunlight — he could warm up more quickly.

Buckeye When visiting the pavilion, you have to be careful where you step — you might step on one of the butterflies — here a Buckeye with numerous eye spots to make a predator attack the wrong end, losing a small part of its wing but, at least, he will survive a bit longer before becoming a meal.

White Peacock There are so many butterflies and they get so used to people, that they sometimes will alight on your hair or shirt. Here a cute little girl is providing her pony tail as a perch for a White Peacock. She (the girl) was delighted and stayed still enough that the butterfly stayed for photos (her parents' as well as mine).

Painted Lady Guess who was honored with a Painted Lady on his aloha shirt? Perhaps she was fooled by the floral design. Interestingly I did not see her because she settled on my back. A docent noticed, told me to stand still and offered to use my camera to capture the shot. Slowly, carefully, I took the strap from around my neck and was thus rewarded with this lovely photo.

White Sulfer I have often seen Yellow Sulfur butterflies in the wild but here were two White Sulfur butterflies. One thing I noticed when Photoshopping this shot is the turquoise tips of their antennae. How curious.

Gulf Fritillary And I love this shot of a Gulf Fritillary. The markings are striking and she posed so nicely among the beautiful colorful flowers.

Pipevine Swallowtail One aspect of butterflies is the iridescence that many exhibit in their wings. Here is a Pipeville Swallowtail which is a beautiful example of that feature.

Swallowtail Last but not least is another Swallowtail — I think it is an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail. I am sure that if it is not correct, one of my readers will set me straight. It was a wonderful day and I enjoyed it immensely. For those of you in the Phoenix area, do yourself a favor and visit the Desert Botanical Garden while the weather is still so comfortable and the butterflies are ready for you and your kids. The exhibit is open until May 11 — do not procrastinate — the end date will be here before you know it. Enjoy!

 Life is good.

 B. David