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Butterfly: Creek at Ellington Agricultural Center

April 7th, 2010 · 1 Comment · butterfly, ellington agricultural center

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

butterfly at Ellington Agricultural Center, Nashville, Tennessee

Today I went for a short hike from where I live in Nashville, Tennessee to Ellington Agricultural Center, where I am thrilled to have recently discovered a 1.6-mile hiking trail, complete with creeks, fields, hills, and woods. Ellington Agricultural Center is very close to another great Nashville, Tennessee hiking spot: Radnor Lake.

Today I followed a short little side trail that led to one of the large creeks that flows across the property at Ellington. This section of creek is shallow, wide, with lots of exposed smooth rock to walk on – and for snakes and other reptiles to sun themselves on. Yes, I was really hoping to see a fat Northern Water Snake — or perhaps a Queen Snake, or even a non-water snake like a King Snake or Rat Snake – sunning itself on these rock shelves. No snakes or any other reptiles were taking advantage of this perfect sunning spot. (I bet I will see a snake here on future hikes, though.)

butterfly at Ellington Agricultural Center, Nashville, Tennessee

However, I did notice a beautiful butterfly at the edge of the creek. It took off before I could photograph it. I watched the butterfly for a while, hoping it would land and I could get a good picture or two. I actually spent about 20 minutes watching this butterfly cruise around within about a 20-yard area, always circling back to the same exact spot where I first noticed the butterfly.

butterfly at Ellington Agricultural Center, Nashville, Tennessee

Since the butterfly kept circling back to the same spot right where I stood, I was able to take several photographs of the butterfly in flight – not an easy task, I can assure you, the way they dart around. It was quite windy, which made it all the more impressive that such a light, delicate creature could navigate quite well in spite of all the wind. However, it landed only once or twice, and for only a few seconds, so I actually got more pictures of the butterfly in flight than what I was really after.

butterfly at Ellington Agricultural Center, Nashville, Tennessee

Even though most of the butterfly-in-flight pictures are blurry, I think they still warrant a posting! There is something about these pics I like.

I visited a few butterfly identification websites and Googled butterfly images, but there are so many, I really did not make much progress on identifying this beautiful black and blue butterfly with bright spots, and an orange spot at the rear of the wing.

If anyone out there can tell me what species of butterfly this is, I would be most grateful.

Ed. Note/Postscript: Thursday, April 8, 2010

After further research on Google, I found a nice butterfly identification site at Discover Life | All living things | Butterflies:


This is a relatively good butterfly identification tool (and it appears to cover not only butterflies, but all kinds of wildlife — perhaps plants, too!); Discover Life lets you first select characteristics of the butterfly and then lists the matches. For my butterfly, the blue color was the feature standing out most, so I searched for blue-winged butterflies. After a few clicks, I found the Limenitis arthemis astyanax, which looks very similar to the butterfly I am trying to identify. At this point, I am convinced I have photographed a butterfly of the Limentis family.

More soon!


One Comment so far ↓

  • Brittany

    I believe you have misidentified your butterfly. After a few moments of researching for a butterfly that my daughter has caught, I have noticed that the one she caught is very similar to the one you have photographed. I have figured that the butterfly is the Papilio Troilus or the Spice Bush Swallowtail.