I had my camera with me and I was taking random pictures of butterflies. There are lots and lots of them in the garden at this time of year. I had the usual Monarchs, Gulf Fritillariies, various sulphurs, and skippers and then I ran across this beauty.
It was something completely different. I had never seen one in my garden before. It is a Bordered Patch butterfly.
My go-to butterfly guide, Butterflies of Houston and Southeast Texas, helped me to identify it. It also informed me that this is not a regular member of this area's butterfly fauna. (No wonder I hadn't seen it before.) It is a tropical species that ranges from southern Arizona and Texas through Central and South America to Argentina. It wanders northward during the summer months, sometimes reaching Kansas and Nebraska. Houston lies at the extreme eastern edge of its range. I feel very lucky to have been in the right place at the right time to get these images.
The butterfly was the only one of its kind present. It was feeding on a bed of marigolds. The guide book says they have a preference for sunflowers. In fact, one of its common names is Sunflower Patch. They like to nectar on white and yellow flowers. Today, lucky for me, this one compromised on a yellow and orange bed of marigolds.