A Two-Tailed Swallowtail Butterfly

The two-tailed swallowtail butterfly is, to me, one of the most beautiful butterflies around. It is large, very colorful, and at times almost seems to “pose” for lucky photographers.

Last Friday, May 10, was a perfect day for a lot of things at the Albuquerque BioPark. You have already seen the variety of iris that were in bloom that day. Close to where a lot of the iris were blooming, was a patch of deep pink flowers whose name I do not know, but to which butterflies were attracted. The BioPark has a butterfly enclosure, but it will not even open until the weekend of May 25. This two-tailed swallowtail butterfly is one of our native butterflies out in the open. This is the State Butterfly of Arizona, but we certainly have our share here in New Mexico (for which I am grateful). I have them in my yard, which is in the middle of Albuquerque, every summer.

Here are a few images from last Friday.

butterfly
Two-tailed swallowtail butterfly
swallowtail butterfly
Two-tailed swallowtail butterfly
butterly
Two-tailed swallowtail butterfly
butterfly
Two-tailed swallowtail butterfly

Here are some fact sheets, where you can compare the two-tailed swallowtail to the western tiger swallowtail to the eastern tiger swallowtail.

My personal favorite is the two-tailed swallowtail, but maybe that is because that is what I have here (and they let me photograph them 🙂 ). I hope you enjoy these.

Some Beautiful Iris

Iris

The iris were gorgeous last week at the BioPark. For my iris-loving friends, I am sorry I do not have the names of these – they were not marked. But, I think you can still enjoy the beauty of the flowers. They were everywhere throughout the BioPark.

Yellow Iris
Yellow Iris
white iris
White Iris
more white iris
More White Iris
white and purple iris
White and Purple Iris
purple iris
Purple Iris
burgundy iris
Burgundy Iris

The Beautiful Redbud

Redbud trees – where I grew up, these trees are quite common in early spring. I have seen them in Albuquerque, but they are not so abundant here. The common variety in Oklahoma, native to the region, is Cercis canadensis var Texensis or “Texas redbud.” It is beautiful and hardy. The Albuquerque Biopark has examples of that variety, and they were blooming on Saturday. There is also the Eastern redbud, along with its many varieties.

The Biopark has another variety of redbud, Cercis canadensis var. texensis ‘Oklahoma.’ It is the State Tree of Oklahoma. To be honest, until last Saturday I was not aware of differences between the two, or even that those two varieties existed. In walking through the BioPark, however, I turned a corner and suddenly came upon one whose flowers were darker, with much more intense color, and really markedly abundant flowers. Fortunately, that one had a marker. The common redbud is a beautiful tree; the Cercis canadensis var. texensis ‘Oklahoma,’ is, in my eye, even more beautiful.

redbud 'Oklahoma
Redbud ‘Oklahoma’
redbud 'Oklahoma'
Redbud ‘Oklahoma’
flowering tree
Redbud
flowering tree
The beautiful redbud tree
redbud and willow
Redbud tree with weeping willow

These images are from Saturday, April 6. Yesterday and today (Monday and Tuesday, April 8 and 9) we have had strong winds. I doubt many spring blooms remain, not only at the Biopark but around town. The best of the spring bloom was short-lived, but glorious while it lasted. There are the summer-blooming flowers to which to look forward: roses, hibiscus, cosmos, sunflowers, and many others. Spring bloom 2013 has been glorious!

Spring Bulbs

Spring bulbs – tulips, daffodils, and others were seen in colorful abundance at the Albuquerque Biopark on Saturday. I was really glad I made it out then, because all were just beginning to look a little worn. Today (Monday) we are having high winds, and I doubt photographing the spring bloom will be as good after today as it was on the weekend.

This is just a sampling of Saturday’s spring bulb beauty.

tulip - spring bulbs
Tulip
spring bulbs - tulips
Tulips
tulips
Tulips
tulips
Tulips
daffodils
Daffodils
daffodils and tulips
Daffodils and Tulips
spring bulb - tulip
Tulip

White Flowering Trees

Yesterday so much was blooming that the beauty was almost overwhelming: flowers on the ground, and flowering trees. The air was filled with sweet scents wafting by.

Images of the redbuds will be posted in a subsequent post.

Here are images of two of the flowering trees with white blossoms. I do not know the names of these trees, only that they were beautiful and had a wonderful scent. The images do not begin to convey their beauty in reality.

flowering trees
One variety of white flowering tree
flowering trees
Another white flowering tree

Jellyfish in the Desert

The Albuquerque Biopark has a small, but very nice, aquarium. For years I have been intrigued by the jellyfish. However, I was not sure I would ever be able to photograph the ones at the Biopark, because they are in a dark room. Additionally, the moon jellyfish are in a very dark tank. The Pacific sea nettles are in a dark room but are in a brightly lit tank. So, until yesterday, I would go, look at, and enjoy the jellyfish, but I never tried to photograph them. Yesterday I had time to think and to play, and for a Sunday there were surprisingly few people there, so I was comfortable taking my time. These are some of the images I was able to create yesterday.

Moon Jellyfish

Moon Jellyfish
Moon Jellyfish

Pacific Sea Nettle

Pacific Sea Nettle
Pacific Sea Nettle
Pacific Sea Nettle
Pacific Sea Nettle

More Moon Jellyfish

Moon jellyfish
Moon jellyfish

The Albuquerque Biopark is really a gem in the desert. For those of you who live in the area, it is a great place to visit at any time. For visitors, it is something to put on your list of things to do when you are in New Mexico.

Color at the Albuquerque Biopark

The Albuquerque Biopark is celebrating its blooming bulbs in March. A few crocus and daffodils are beginning to bloom on the grounds, but the show at present consists of calla lilies and a few other assorted flowers in the Mediterranean Conservatory.

Over the years I have grown a few calla lilies. Somehow, I had expected the ones at the Biopark to be larger. Most were either the size I had grown, or even a little smaller. On the one hand, I did not feel like such a failure as a gardener of calla lilies. On the other hand, I was a bit disappointed as a photographer that there were no “giant” calla lilies on display. What I can say, however, is that the calla lilies (and other flowers) blooming today were quite colorful!

Flowers
Flowers at the Biopark
Calla Lily
Calla Lily at the Biopark
Calla Lily
Calla Lily at the Biopark
Calla Lily
Calla Lily at the Biopark
Calla Lily
Calla Lily at the Biopark

The Mediterranean Conservatory at the Albuquerque Biopark

The Albuquerque Biopark is a wonderful place to visit at any time of the year.

I went today to see some of the bulbs that were blooming in the Mediterranean Conservatory. Until today, I had never paid much attention to the building itself. That may be because when the trees and other plants have leaves, the building does not stand out so much. But today I found the building itself an interesting photographic subject.

Albuquerque Biopark
Mediterranean Conservatory at the Albuquerque Biopark

Another post will show some of the beautiful bulbs that were blooming within the Mediterranean Conservatory today. This images in this post, however, are of the outside of the Mediterranean Conservatory itself. The sun was out when I first arrived, but clouds had moved in by the time I was making the last images.

Mediterranean Conservatory
Mediterranean Conservatory at the Albuquerque Biopark
Mediterranean Conservatory
Mediterranean Conservatory at Albuquerque Biopark

I would encourage everyone to consider visiting the Biopark. As spring arrives, it will begin to change almost daily. The Biopark is one of Albuquerque’s jewels.