A Territorial Butterfly

I love butterflies, but they can sometimes be a pain to photograph. Especially those that are extremely territorial.

A Red Admiral trying to avoid the camera.

I spent some time today in the woods taking pictures of butterflies and birds. I discovered that a Red Admiral had established his territory near my favorite writing spot, so it was natural of me to want to take his picture. I didn’t think it would be too hard, since he always perched on the same plant after chasing another rival male away.

On the move again

The problem with him, though, was that he was far from tame. The slightest move on my part or the part of other passing insects sent him into a chasing frenzy. On many occasions he went after me for “trespassing” his area.  Other times, he mistook me (if I sat really still for a long time) for another lifeless perch, sitting on my shoulder and flashing his red and black wings tauntingly at me.

After forty-minutes of stalking, waiting, and photographing, I finally obtained a decent picture of him resting nicely on a plant.

The Red Admiral at last sitting still for me.

As annoying as he was, the time I spent with him was worth the picture, and it was fun trying to outsmart him. Although I think the real reason he grew calm was the fact that the other male had given up on fighting him for his territory. Without his rival, and having gotten somewhat used to my annoying presence, he must have decided to settle down for the evening (and for his picture).


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