This, of course, is not a picture of the one I saw. It fluttered by so fast that I just could not catch a picture. I thought it was a little early, but obviously not.
The Western Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio rutulus) is a common Swallowtail Butterfly of western North America, frequently seen in urban parks and gardens as well as in rural woodlands and riparian areas.It is a large, brightly colored and active butterfly, rarely seen at rest; its wingspan is 7 to 10 cm, and its wings are yellow with black stripes, and in addition it has blue and orange spots near its tail. It has the "tails" on the hind wings that are often found in swallowtails.
We have a riparian area that runs through the county here. During the winter, when everything looks dead and barren, you can see the green of the river for miles away, winding through the desert.
The San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area (NCA) contains nearly 57,000 acres of public land in Cochise County, Arizona, between the international border and St. David, Arizona. The riparian area, where some 40 miles of the upper San Pedro River meanders, was designated by Congress as a Riparian National Conservation Area on November 18, 1988. The primary purpose for the special designation is to protect and enhance the desert riparian ecosystem, a rare remnant of what was once an extensive network of similar riparian systems throughout the American Southwest. One of the most important riparian areas in the United States, the San Pedro River runs through the Chihuahuan Desert and the Sonoran Desert in southeastern Arizona. The river’s stretch is home to 84 species of mammals, 14 species of fish, 41 species of reptiles and amphibians, and 100 species of breeding birds. It also provides invaluable habitat for 250 species of migrant and wintering birds and contains archaeological sites representing the remains of human occupation from 13,000 years ago.This is a fascinating place to live. I guess that can be said for most places, but the fact that wildlife thrives, and rivers still flow in this heat, and wild flowers abound in this unforgiving habitat is amazing to me.