Tattered tails

Butterflies are such amazing creatures to observe.  The way the flit about through a garden and search through the flowers for their favorite nectar it a great joy to watch.  At the same time, when you look closely you will see that most butterfly wings show signs of wear.  It is somewhat unusual to see the wings unscathed by everyday life.  I don’t know if it is birds getting to them or if the delicate wings just get damaged in their constant landing and taking off but most often, I see holes and tears and missing pieces.

You can see on this yellow swallowtail that only one side has the iconic tail at the end of the wing.  She lost that other one somewhere but that does not really diminish the overall beauty.  Thinking about this reminds me how often we judge things based on our idea of perfection.  When something fails to meet that standard, we feel like it has less value and we tend to dismiss it.

This happens even in the case of how we treat other people. This behavior of holding things up to a standard of perfection often causes us to miss out on what is wonderful in spite of small flaws.  Nothing is really perfect.  We should be looking for what is good and building it up instead of tearing down what is imperfect.  Again, my photography teaches me life lessons.  What a great way to spend time learning more and looking for beauty.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
(Papilio glaucus)

Atlanta Botanical Garden
Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
300mm @ f/11 – 1/100 sec – ISO 200

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Correction: Pine Warbler

We get tons of House finches at our feeders but the goldfinches only show up on occasion.  I am kind of  a novice at bird identification so I was pretty sure this is a female goldfinch but, it is actually a male Pine Warbler.  It seems that there are a few different finches and warblers that are close to the same size and have the yellow color as well as the black wings with white stripes.

I’m hoping that we see some male goldfinches soon since the color is brighter and it’s pretty easy to pick them out.  They really add some great color to contrast with the other birds we see often.  Lately, it’s been woodpeckers, cardinals, blue jays, house finches, chickadees, wrens, titmouse and nuthatches at the feeders most often.  We see morning doves, towhees, and brown thrashers on the ground and hummingbirds at the flowers and feeders.

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2
450mm @ f/10 – 1/30 sec – ISO 400

Curious Cardinal

What can I say, it’s David Akoubian’s fault!  I guess I was asking for it when I got his opinion on upgrading my long lens.  Now, I’m addicted to watching the birds around my house and trying to get just one more good shot.  On the positive side, the new Tamron 150-600 makes getting good shots a lot easier.

I sit out in the yard and watch the birds, hoping that they will land in a spot that will have some light, not be blocked by miscellaneous branches and where the birds are posing for me.  At the same time, I find that the birds occasionally seem to enjoy watching me.  When this female cardinal stopped at one of the few “perfect spots”, she kept cocking her head to the side with an expression like “what the heck are you doing?”.

Yeah, photographers are kind of crazy.

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2
600mm @ f/6.3 – 1/125 sec – ISO 200