Probably the most memorable spot of the day was not avian, but lepidopteral.I caught a glimpse of something black and ragged-looking fluttering among the roadside clovers and wildflowers and pulled over to take a closer look. I wasn't even quite sure whether it was a bird or a butterfly, it was so large, but it turned out to be a huge black butterfly with blue hind wings. The sun was shining on my LCD display so that I could hardly see whether I'd captured it in the photos or not, and as you'll see the focus isn't great.
|As I first saw it - huge and very black. Those are large clover blossoms!|
|Here you can see the blue hindwings and a hint of the swallow-type tail|
|I was able to get quite close to take this photo|
As I first researched other similar butterflies I thought it might be a spicebush swallowtail (Papilio troilus) because of that larger blue area. But as I looked at more and more sources, I came to the conclusion that this is indeed another of the same. Features that convinced me included the orange spots at the base of the hind wings and where the hind wing meets the fore wing on each side, and the yellowish color of the spots at the edge of the hind wings, compared to a cooler almost blue tone to those spots in the P. troilus. Of course, then I compared the range maps and saw that it was much less likely to have been the P. troilus, which doesn't seem to extend past Wisconsin into Minnesota. So there you have it.