Monday, July 14, 2008

Flight Pattern

Holy flitter-flap, Batman! Are we under a flight pattern or what? This is amazing, Coffee Mates. There I was, minding my own beeswax, sipping coffee at the dining table while gazing out the window -- and it happened again! This big (really big) butterfly flitter-fluttered down and perched on a branch of the young redwood that is positioned a good 40 feet away from the building. Yessir, 40 feet. Easy. Which tells me this ol' flutterby was built of impressive dimensions.

I do like the butterfly attitude. When they light on a branch, they hang for a while. None of this jittery hopping around that the sparrows give me. Which gave me time to retrieve the camera from the computer desk because it wasn't on the dining table today.

Again, I was shooting through the window screen with the lens right up against the wire. I should point out that when I uploaded the photo to Paintshop Pro, I adjusted the gamma correction for better contrast and then hit it with the unsharp mask to lift the detail. The softening effect of the window screen seems to fade out detail, especially with the distance. The zoom can only do so much, wonderful as it is.

This is not, you may have noticed, the California Sister butterfly featured in the previous post. A quick click back into the most helpful Butterflies and Moths of North America site soon had me homing in on the skinnies about this feller. Apparently what I have here is the Western Tiger Swallowtail. There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of difference between this and the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail except area and, to tell the truth, I was figuring him for the Eastern version until I saw the map.

It's the dimension of these guys that is blowing me away. I'm used to seeing butterflies half that size so you'll please forgive my awe. Sheesh, you could go hang gliding with one of them, I swear it. Okay. That might be a teensy exaggeration. I tend to break out in hyperbole when impressed. It's like verbal hives.

All I know is, if I'm living in the flight pattern of migrating butterflies, I've been gifted. Yes indeed.

If I may catch up on comment responses from the previous post, Ava, I didn't even think about trying to track down the origin of that name. Good on you! Maggie, don't feel left out. I had never seen one of those California Sisters either. What a treat, eh? Bill, please let us know how your "screen shots" turn out with the deer family. I'm looking forward to that.

And now I must return to the observation deck because there may be some more weary travelers floating in and desiring a bit of rest and refreshment before continuing the trek. Bless 'em.


kate&jim said...

Now aren't they just so lovely to admire?

We've been seeing alot of butterfly activity this year also and must say, they've been rather large here in NY too.

Bonnie said...

Your camera does a suburb job. When I need a new one I shall have to ask what you have because I forgot. :-)

I made a butterfly watering hole but I think I've seen more birds in it.

Dee said...

You've seen the big ones, too, Kate? Oh good. I was beginning to think I was somehow imagining the size. I've just never seen them that big. 'Course I've never seen those particular kinds of flutterbys, either. (smile)

Bonnie, the wild thangs seem to have their own idea of what suits 'em. Never fails. Ah well, it's fun watching the birds, too.

Kate said...

Your camera does indeed do a wonderful job. What kind was it again?

Waves, sending hugs

Dee said...

Do you realize, Coffee Mates, we have coast-to-coast Kates here? Kate&Jim in New York and Kate from California. What a treat.

As to the camera, it's a Canon PowerShot S5 IS with a 12x zoom. And it's the treasured result of a generous gift from another California buddy, darlin' Cecil.