Tiger Swallowtail on a Thistle ( 62 A )
One of the largest and most colorful butterflies, the Western Tiger Swallowtail is often seen along stream courses like the Merced River. This one seemed to be dancing as it used its wings to maintain perfect balance on top of this native California thistle. Notice its long proboscis extending into the flower as it sucked nectar. I was lucky that the early morning sun had not yet warmed this beauty enough for it to fly away. Because of this cool air, I was able to enjoy this dance for more than a minute before it flew off.