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Swallowtails

The Korean lilac, late-bloomer and heavily scented, permeates the night air with a unique fragrance. Its pale flowers are very full, and by day as many as six brilliant yellow swallowtail butterflies flit from cluster to cluster taking in the nectar. They are all over the yard, but it's only at the lilac where they gather in force. On a very wet morning, one of them seemed stuck to a purple chive blossom. It looked dead, but an hour later it was gone. Its wings must have been too water-soaked to fly. The shrew-like tones of the nesting house wrens are a harsh contrast to the sweet warbling of the song sparrow and the repetitive call of the red-eyed vireo or the loud melody of the Baltimore oriole. So many birds, butterflies, toads and (ugh) garter snakes -- all busy with their daily rounds.

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