Deborah Davis of Oconee County took this shot of a group of swallowtail butterflies at Jocassee Gorges in April 2008.
Deborah describes her Sunday hike: “We rounded a bend and the rush of the Gorges threw its spell on us from the bowels of the valley floor. The closer we got to the valley floor, the more wildflowers carpeted the ground. The ferns were tall and green and in several varieties. We ate our lunch back at the creek where the trail ends in the valley. We chose a rock next to a rapid and watched two ducks rise in quick flight from a possible hidden nest on an island. Yellow tiger swallowtails were dipping and playing all over and above the water. I walked down to the point above the rapid and to my surprise, about fifty swallowtails were sitting on the edge of the rock next to the frothy water feeding. They did not care that I stood and shot pictures or that I slid down to the lower level and came up eye level with them. They were on a mission and nothing would deter that.
“We hike the Jocassee Gorges in every season and it is never the same. No spring is ever the same as the flowers try to outshine the year before. I think all was well with us and God for missing church since we praised what we saw and decided that if we should encounter a bear or wild boar, this was the perfect place to be their lunch. We are like salmon coming back to the same spot every season to feed upon the splendor. I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”
Read more about the South Carolina State Butterfly, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail.