Last summer was a sadly swallowtail-less; I think I just got my parsley out too late. But this year I have babies again. Or rather, I have one newborn and one teenager.
On Friday, my friend C. found two tiny eggs on my dill (although one of them is a dud--you can see right though it) and I found a big, fat third instar caterpillar on my carrots. The caterpillar molted into forth instar that night and into fifth (pictured above) today. You can also see in the picture above that she has completely denuded a sprig of carrot greens. Fifth instar is the last, so she'll be spinning a chrysalis already in the next day or two.
The non-dud egg hatched early Saturday morning, and as of this writing it looks like he might be getting ready to molt into second instar. I am assuming it is a black swallowtail, because that seems the most likely, but she looks much redder than other caterpillars I have known (in my experience they are usually closer to black).
In other butterfly news, I also have loads of cabbage white larvae on my broccoli and kale. I would raise them, too, but cabbage whites are non-native and unlike swallowtails they do serious damage to gardens, so for the past few days I've been picking them off and feeding them to my neighbor's chickens, one of whom now recognizes me and starts pacing the coop making whiny begging noises when she sees me in the garden.