All photographs copyright (2003-2013) by Kris H. Light

<strong>Mourning Cloak Butterfly</strong><br><em>Nymphalis antiopa antiopa</em><br>Great Smoky Mountains NP<br>March 18, 2009<br>***A Cocke County, TN record butterfly!***
Mourning Cloak Butterfly
Nymphalis antiopa antiopa
Great Smoky Mountains NP
March 18, 2009
***A Cocke County, TN record butterfly!***
I have long wanted to photograph this elusive butterfly. I spotted it while hiking on the Porter's Creek trail in the Smokies. They are very "flitty" butterflies and they don't stay in one spot long when they land. I was amazed at how well-camouflaged this one was when it landed in the leaves. I glanced down to check on my camera settings for just a second and I couldn't find it again! I had to wait until it flew and landed again, then I snapped pictures as quickly as possible because I knew it wouldn't stay there long. These are one of the first large butterflies to emerge in the spring, so you have to get out early to see them.