Gallery: the wings of the butterfly
May the wings of the butterfly kiss the sun
And find your shoulder to light on,
To bring you luck, happiness and riches
Today, tomorrow and beyond.An Irish blessing
Butterflies are delicately beautiful. Their colours brighten our gardens, our parks and our wilder spaces. They live for only a few days, yet in that time they pollinate our flowers and lift our spirits.
The almost magical metamorphosis from caterpillar to butterfly led to them being regarded in many cultures as symbols of transformation, freedom, and rebirth. And what can be more transformational than this: Chaos theory tells us that something as tiny as the flutter of a butterfly’s wing can have a ripple effect that ultimately leads to a typhoon halfway around the world.
More poetically, these fluttering wings mean that butterflies have been seen as ethereal or heavenly messengers, heralds of good fortune and happiness. The Siksika (Blackfoot) Native Americans believe butterflies bring dreams and inspiration, while the Ancient Greeks gave them the same name as the soul, psyche.
For Denzil’s Nature Challenge this week I bring you a selection of butterflies from around the world. I’ve named those I know but otherwise deliberately not researched and identified the species. This may be a nature challenge, but today I’d rather simply immerse myself in their beauty rather than play the amateur scientist!
Some have appeared before but I’ve tried to mix it up a bit and at least show you different shots of the same butterfly!
Butterflies are but flowers that blew away one sunny day when Nature was feeling at her most inventive and fertile.George Sand
Baronet butterfly seen on our jeep safari in Bardia NP, Nepal
[the same butterfly is showing an interest in our picnic in my feature photo!]
Common grass yellow, Tiger Tops Karnali, Bardia NP, Nepal
At a roadside restaurant by a lake in Nepal
Tithorea in the butterfly dome, Selvatura Park, near Monteverde, Costa Rica
[there are more photos from here in my earlier post about Selvatura]
Monarch butterfly, also in the Selvatura butterfly dome
In the nature reserve at Lagarta Lodge, Costa Rica
Blue Morph in Belize
Butterfly on bougainvillea near Cayena Beach Villas, Colombia
This is a different shot of the same butterfly we spotted on the beach walk I described very recently
Junonia orithya or Blue Pansy, in Ranthambore National Park, Rajasthan
This one I did research as it’s so striking!
Spotted on a wall at the West Sea Barrage in Nampo, North Korea
(the barrage is the pride of North Korean engineering!)
Flitting around the courtyard of the Quiet American Bar in Hoi An, Vietnam
Red Admiral on white buddleia in Norfolk, England
Lovely captures of a difficult subject. 😊
Thank you 😀
You take such beautiful photos Sarah, and I can imagine the patience you had to demonstrate to get some of these photos.
Thank you Denzil, although I’m not at all a patient person! If I don’t get the shot fairly quickly I get bored and look for something else to photograph instead 😆
Beautiful quote by George Sand. Your photographs are poetry, Sarah. The Monarch butterfly and the common yellow is one that I recognise but the others are pretty unique.
P.S. How come the butterflies not fly away when you’re clicking? 🙂 They refuse to pose for me.
Thanks so much 😊 I was just lucky with these shots that the butterflies stayed still long enough – I have plenty of other photos of empty leaves when they flew just before I clicked!
Stunning photographs. Your patience truly paid off. The clarity of the pictures is amazing.
I don’t think you get an ugly butterfly. You captured such beautiful ones here – the Blue Morph in Belize is really lovely (looks so powdery), but the best photo for me is the close up shot in North Korea.
You’re so right, there’s no such thing as an ugly butterfly! I’m glad you enjoyed these ones 🙂
These are so beautiful, Sarah!!
Thank you Lisa, I’m so glad you like them 😀
A wonderful gallery of butterflies I haven’t seen before Sarah 🙂
Thank you Brian, glad to have introduced you to some new species 😃
Lovely. You’ve captured the camouflage of these creatures in many of the photos.
Thank you Ruth – I see what you mean about their camouflage patterns 😀
I love butterflies and their symbol of rebirth. What a beautiful collection of butterfly wings 🙂
Thank you very much, I’m glad you enjoyed seeing them 😊
You’ve done it again, Sarah, an outstanding gallery right up at the top of my list of favourite posts! As a member of the Butterfly Conservation Trust, I adore the little beauties and I agree with everything you so eloquently say in your introduction. Love the Irish blessing too. I gasped my way through the images that you’ve caught so beautifully. I don’t know how you do it, but thank you for showcasing one of nature’s best little creatures. They need all the help they can get right now. Your shots would make a wonderful calendar! 🙂
Thank you SO much Alli, I really appreciate all the kind comments you’ve left me recently, this one included 😊 Yes, butterflies certainly need our help, it’s great that you’re involved in the Butterfly Conservation Trust!
Your featured image caught my eye. The butterfly seems caught in a very human quandry as it looked at the apples. Should I? Could I?
Haha yes, I see what you mean 🤣 He didn’t, by the way!
Beautiful images. Crisp, colorful and sharp.
Thank you Paul, much appreciated 😊
Sarah, that is an incredible collection. You are a very patient woman!
I’m not patient at all – most of these were taken at speed when I suddenly spotted the butterfly! But thank you for the lovely comment 😊
I agree- a thing of wonder, Sarah. I can never ignore them as they flutter past. Always following their giddy flight and wondering, will they linger near enough for my camera. They rarely do, but such joy they bring.
Thank you Jo 😊 You’re right, they rarely linger – for each of these successful shots I have loads of blank leaves and flowers which a butterfly has just flown away from!
Enjoyed the butterfly picture series…
Thank you Leela 🙂
What a fabulous photo! It’s as if the butterfly has come for a visit and brought its own blanket.
Haha yes, so it is 😀
They are incredibly beautiful and delicate creatures, aren’t they, one of those elements of nature which makes you stop and capture the moment. I’ve noticed something else about butterflies which for a wordy person like me kind of adds to the thought that butterflies are a little bit magical and mystical. And that is…..have you noticed that it is one if those incredibly rare things where there’s no obvious connection between the words for “butterfly” in various languages, especially those languages where one can normally see a link. Butterfly-mariposa-papillon-farfalle-schmetterling….for instance. I find that little nugget fascinating!
Oh yes, that’s so true! The names seem to have evolved independently of each other 😀 When I was a kid I called them ‘flutterbys’ which I still think is a great name too!
I like the idea of butterflies being heavenly messengers. All your photos are splendid, not sure if I could pick a favorite – yellow in Nepal, blue in Belize, or blue in Rajasthan…?
Apologies, I had to play amateur scientist, I tried an experiment with the iSeek app on my phone with your butterfly photos. It correctly identified the yellow pansy, the grass yellow, the monarch, the blue morph, the blue pansy, and the red admiral. Not too bad at deciphering photos on the internet, but it had trouble with the ones where it couldn’t see the entire body and wings.
Thanks so much Rose 😊 And no need at all to apologise for trying to ID them, I appreciate your efforts. It’s interesting to hear how your iSeek app worked too. Some of those I already had, but which one is the Yellow Pansy?
The app said the photo at the top of your blog was the yellow pansy. It may be incorrect but it was an interesting experiment. 😊
Interesting – I just tried a search on that shot with Google Lens and it came up with the same suggestion 😀
I might have guessed you’d turn up trumps with this one! I’m rather taken with that North Korean one. Well, I’m rather taken with all of them.
I’m rather fond of that North Korean one too – I think partly it’s the contrast with all that concrete!
I thought of that too!
I. J. Khanewala
Beautiful ones. You have quite a collection here.
Thank you 😀
An absolutely stunning collection of these, often elusive, beauties Sarah!!
Thank you so much Anita 😊
Mike and Kellye Hefner
Wow, Sarah! I think you can add wildlife photographer to your resume. These are outstanding photos, and I know how hard butterflies are hard to photograph. Beautiful!
Haha, thank you Kellye 😊 I enjoy photographing wildlife but I’m no expert. I don’t have the patience, nor do I have the strength these days to carry lots of camera equipment needed to do this sort of thing properly!
Mike and Kellye Hefner
You do an amazing job, my friend. I see a coffee table book in your future, if you haven’t published one already.
These beauties took my breath away! So wonderful. Photogra[hed just excellently. I immediately taught of the Lord is the Great Creator and Artist.
Thank you 🙂
This is a beautifully photographed selection of butterflies Sarah!
Thanks so much Anne 😊
Very many thanks for sharing that wonderful selection of amazing butterflies Sarah. May I just correct one thing you wrote though – not all butterflies are so short lived. In UK, the Yellow Brimstone can live for a year and in Mexico, the Monarch migrates so can live through from August to April and (I just looked this up – is that cheating?) Some of the longest-lived butterflies, such as the mourning cloak, spend their winters in the tropics before mating in the spring. Others, like tortoiseshells and anglewings, hibernate through cold-climate winters in the holes in trees of man-made structures.. We can learn something new every day – at whatever age.
Thank you Yvonne, that’s all very interesting 🙂 I did know about Monarchs but had forgotten!
A beautiful series of various butterflies around the world! Thanks for sharig Sarah!
Glad you enjoyed them Amy 🙂