The Unpictured Butterflies, I

Recently a friend and I went to Ault Park in Cincinnati, OH. While we were there, we decided to check out the beautiful flower gardens and hopefully take some pictures of the bugs and blooms. I spotted plenty of butterflies … but they were even more elusive than normal and I walked away with a butterfly log but not a single supporting picture. Usually I get something. That day, it was not to be.

It was a beautiful spring day. The sun was warm, the grass was green, and it wasn’t even a Three Ninjas movie. My friend and I hopped out of the car and went into the park proper, eyeing the approaching thunderheads cautiously. It was, after all, a spring day.

The first butterfly was a red admiral. It darted among the flowers, never quite finding one to its liking, before disappearing behind a stand of bushes. I stayed on the path, where I stood a chance at keeping my feet under me, and figured it would come back to the flowers. The red admiral apparently could read the weather better than I, because it didn’t return.

I didn’t notice those thunderheads, though, because I was egging my friend and her rife barrel of a long lens on to try to take a picture of the brilliant Eastern swallowtail heading for the treetops at warp speed. Then we were diverted by a chipmunk chasing a lizard. The gardens there are so captivating that it wasn’t until the first round drops began to audibly fall on the leaves on the opposite side of the garden that I realized we were in for it. If you can hear the rain right before it reaches you, it’s coming down.

We waited out the worst of it under trees, our cameras wrapped in ziploc baggies and stuffed under jackets, hoping that someone upstairs would remember and turn of the taps. It did ease, wonder of wonders. The golden pollen that had hung in the air like beautifully poisonous fairy dust — breathe in and you’ll forget to grow up if you have MCAS — had thankfully been tamped down a bit. We watched the wildlife emerge again and hoped for another round of the impossible cuteness that is lizards vs. chipmunks, but to no avail. The butterflies remained stubbornly hidden in that corner of the park.

We changed locations and I spotted another butterfly in the trees — white and black, but larger than a cabbage white and veined more like a monarch. I have finally decided that, since I’m not in an area where pine whites are known to flit and white monarchs are  very rare, it was probably a zebra swallowtail. I didn’t get a good look at its wings.

But if anyone sees a white monarch in Ault Park in Cincinnati, be a pal and let me know. I’m very curious!




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