I was out in the greenhouse over the long weekend potting up some tomatoes. I was rummaging around for the right tool, moving things here and there, when I was startled by a movement not of my making. I moved closer for inspection and realized that a butterfly I thought was a picture was actually real! I mean, I have lots of butterfly-looking things in my yard/greenhouse, so it would have been totally plausable. Here's a picture of what I discovered was a Western Tiger Swallowtail butterfly.
I reached down to the table and extended my finger tips. It climbed aboard and sat on my hand quite placcidly. Apparently, it had overwintered as a chrysalis somewhere in the greenhouse...and the warming temperatures must have triggered its emergence. It was a magical experience.
We hung out for several minutes like this. I tried setting it down on some of my seedlings, but the butterfly was just too heavy. So, back on to my hand and arm again. It couldn't fly, as its wings were still drying.
I had my iPhone with me (which facilitated these pictures and the video below), so I called our house phone and had my youngest come out to see this spectacular butterfly. He came and stood at the door, transfixed by its beauty. Unfortunately, the butterfly must have decided he was one person too many, because he started fanning his wings in a defensive fashion.
After a few seconds of this, it flew off of my arm...and straight into the rooftop of the greenhouse. Fortunately, it's a very small space, so I was able to (gently) recapture it and release it outside. It flew off for parts unkown.
It was one of my favorite experiences as a gardener.