Brimming with butterflies

A group of Eastern tiger swallowtail butterflies gathers on the bank of the Ashuelot River in Surry on May 30. Although they are solitary creatures, often flying high in the treetops, groups of swallowtail males can sometimes be found “puddling.” That’s when butterflies come together at damp places in the soil and drink water rich with sodium ions and various amino acids, which appear to allow them to live longer, according to Stephen Buchmann of Pollinator Partnership. The Eastern tiger swallowtail is one of the most common eastern butterflies. Individuals can be found anywhere east of the Mississippi river and a bit farther west into the Great Plains states.