I was doing a little bird scoping in my backyard with my superzoom Nikon last month and I thought I saw what might have been hummingbirds buzzing about on top of some trees in one corner, about 100 feet away. So I zoomed and clicked.
It was tough to make out much until I got back to the desk but once on screen I realized what I had seen. I had used zooms to capture butterflies and other insects before but I think this might have been as far as I’ve ever reached.
Every year our skies are crowded for a few weeks with enormous butterflies. Two species look nearly identical, Yellow Angled-Sulphurs (Anteos maerula) and White Angled-Sulphurs (Anteos clorinde). Typically you might need to see the wings from above to be sure, especially since A. maerula females are paler than males. Both are about the same size and shape (but only stop moving to feed extremely quickly).
However the sun shining through to show the outlines of A. clorinde’s little upper wing splootches made this fluttery little friend, flying between 6 and 7 meters up and a few meters away from me, instantly identifiable even captured in in terrible cell phone photo.