I've been fairly busy with doctor appointments for my husband and puppy so have not found as much time for photography as I prefer but I'll take the moments I find to capture something of interest or beauty. Monday, I did manage to squeeze in about an hour at Alligator River NWR. I was hoping to see some bears but only one or two were visible at a distance. Nor did I see any Barred Owls as in previous visits but there were some reptiles, both turtles and young alligators.
In the refuge now there are a lot of blooming wildflowers so the butterflies are very, very busy! When I can't find the bears or owls, I have to look for other things to focus on for photo subjects so butterflies and wildflowers became the subject matter of the visit.
Monday was not a crowded day in the refuge at all. Just a few vehicles here and there which is what I like. Not all people are patient with photographers so when there is a lot of refuge visitors you might have to work extra fast before your subject is frightened off. As I drove along the wildlife trail I noticed the common Blacktail Butterfly (Papilio polyxenes) feeding upon tall pink native North Carolina herbaceous perennial, Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata). The pretty milkweed grew in clumps along the dirt roads in moist wet areas. Swamp Milkweed is a close cousin to the better known Common Milkweed plant and is technically poisonous if enough is eaten by humans and other mammals.
There were also a few Yellow Swallowtail butterflies and either Viceroys or Monarchs flittering about. I did not get a good photo of either species as they were not as plentiful as the Black Swallowtails. Maybe my next visit to the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge I can photo some additional species of butterflies and wildflowers.