Category Archives: Clifty Falls State Park

Fall at Clifty Falls State Park

Here is an example of the color we are starting to experience here in Southern Indiana at Clifty falls State Park located near Madison Indiana.

It started out warm and dry here but the last few days have cooled dramatically and we have received much needed rain to help spur on the color that we had been lacking.

So starting now thru the next ten days the color will really be beautiful here and it should be a great destination for viewing the wonderful fall colors that blanket the hillsides and gorges that grace this part of Indiana.

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Common Buckeye

common buckeye 2 2017

Thought I would share another great butterfly from southern Indiana, the Common Buckeye, photographed at Big Oaks NWR near Madison Indiana. Maybe the most beautiful butterfly that inhabits our area and certainly one of my favorite.

According to Wikipedia….

Junonia coenia, the common buckeye or buckeye, is a butterfly in the family Nymphalidae. It is found in southern Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia and all parts of the United States except the northwest, and is especially common in the south, the California coast, and throughout Central America ,Colombia & India .The subspecies Junonia coenia bergi is endemic to the island of Bermuda.

Its habitat is open areas with low vegetation and some bare ground. This species and its relatives were placed formerly in the genus Precis.

The bold pattern of eyespots and white bars on the upper wing surface is distinctive in much of its range, though compare related species in the same genus. These are mangrove buckeye (Junonia evarete) and tropical buckeye (Junonia genoveva), formerly considered one species, and the smoky buckeye (Junonia evarete). The eyespots likely serve to startle or distract predators, especially young birds. The species has many flights throughout the year, with mostly northward migrations for the summer. Much of the northern United States is only colonized in the fall from southern populations. Some of the later broods move southwards in the fall. Common buckeyes exhibit seasonal polyphenism, the summer version of the butterfly has light yellowish ventral wings and is called “linea”. The fall morph has pink ventral wings, and is called the “rosa” morph.

Adults feed on nectar and also take fluids from mud and damp sand. Males perch on bare ground or low plants, occasionally patrolling in search of females, but they are not territorial. The female lays eggs singly on buds or the upper side of leaves. The caterpillars are solitary and feed on the foliage, flowers, and fruits of the host plant. A variety of (typically) herbaceous plants are used, including especially plants in the snapdragon family (Scrophulariaceae). These include snapdragon (Antirrhinum), toadflax (Linaria), and Gerardia. Caterpillars also feed on plants of the plantain family, such as Plantago; and the Acanthus family including ruellia (Ruellia nodiflora). Larvae feed singly. Adults and some larvae overwinter in southern areas. The pupa may not have a resting phase (diapause), as in many other butterflies.

Well that’s the description of this great butterfly hope you enjoyed the info and image, thanks for stopping by and taking a look.

Zebra Swallowtail

Here is a gallery of one of my favorite butterflies that call our area home the zebra swallowtail. From Wikipedia…
Protographium marcellus, the zebra swallowtail, (formerly listed under genera Eurytides, Iphiclides, Graphium and Papilio by some authorities) is a swallowtail butterfly native to the eastern United States and southeast Canada. Its distinctive wing shape and long tails make it easy to identify, and its black-and-white-striped pattern is reminiscent of a zebra. The butterflies are closely associated with pawpaws, and are rarely found far from these trees. The green or black caterpillars feed on the leaves of various pawpaw species, while the adults feed on flower nectar and minerals from damp soil.

The zebra swallowtail has a wingspan of 6.4 to 10.4 cm (2.5 to 4.1 in).[3] The triangular wings are white to greenish white with black longitudinal stripes. A pair of swordlike tails extend from the hindwings. The inner margin of the hindwing has two blue spots on the corner and a red spot near the body. A red stripe runs along the middle of the ventral hindwing. P. marcellus has two seasonal forms, one occurring in the spring and the other in the summer. Spring forms are smaller, more white, and have short, black tails with white tips. Summer forms are larger, have broader black stripes, and longer, black tails with white edges.

The zebra swallowtail can be seen from late March to August in the northern portion of its range and from February to December in the southern portion. It has two broods in the north and three to four in the south,with the first brood being the most numerous
Males will patrol near host plants in search of females, flying swiftly and directly.They usually fly 0.5 to 1.8 meters (2 to 6 ft) above the ground. Females will fly slowly when searching for suitable host plants.Both males and females avidly visit flowers, including species from the families Apocynaceae, Brassicaceae, Fabaceae, Lythraceae, Polemoniaceae, and Rosaceae. Males participate in a behavior known as puddling, in which individuals congregate on sand, gravel, or moist soil to obtain salts and amino acids.[7] These nutrients aid the male in reproduction. Other food sources include rotting fruit and urine.

Since the caterpillars are cannibalistic, females lay their eggs singly on pawpaw leaves or on the tree trunks. The round egg is pale green, later turning orange brown. Young caterpillars are black with lighter colored transverse stripes. Older larvae have two color forms. The more common form is green with yellow and white transverse stripes; the rarer form is black and banded with white and orange. In both forms, between the swollen thorax and the abdomen, there is a yellow, black, and bluish-white band. The larva has a yellow, foul-smelling, forked gland called an osmeterium which it will use to deter predators, especially spiders and ants. The chrysalis is either green or brown, and is more compact compared to chrysalids in the genus Papilio. Three small horns project from the head and thorax. The chrysalis hibernates in areas of its range with cold winters.

Sorry for the long post but I do find the info from Wikipedia very useful there is just no way I could collect and write that much info I just will stick with the photographic part of it.

Madison Indiana

I am sure I probably shared these before one time or another but I thought it might be nice to put them out their again for people to see. Madison is such a beautiful place it never hurts to show it off a bit.

Madison with all it’s beautiful architecture and many festivals is a great place to visit. And the natural diversity that surrounds Madison is second to none,if you love photography you will love this place.

Chain Mill Falls

chain mill falls 1 2016

Here is another example of one of the many waterfalls that grace Jefferson County Indiana. Chain Mill Falls is located near Hanover just outside of Madison.

Sitting at the back of a beautiful gorge that leads into the Ohio River this falls was used to power a grist mill over a hundred years ago and was also a tourist stop for riverboat travelers along the Ohio River.

The tourists were carted up the steep gorge to view the falls by a ski lift type system that I believe was also powered by the falls.

When the waterfall is at high flow there are not many more beautiful sites to view in Indiana !!

Waterfalls and Wildflowers

crooked falls 3 2017virgin bells 1 2017

Madison Indiana is known far and wide as a Architectural gem with all of the Historic homes and one of the most unique Main Streets in the Midwest. Visitors come from all over to enjoy the many festivals that our community has to offer as well. Even though Madison has these attractions the one that we have never seemed to take advantage of is the incredible natural beauty that we have to offer.

Clifty Falls State Park, Big Oaks NWR, Splinter Ridge FWA and The Chelsea Flattwoods are just a few of the many places to enjoy the natural beauty of Southern Indiana. We also have one of the most incredible wildflower blooms in the Midwest not only at Clifty and the other public areas but drive any rural road during the spring and summer months and you will be able to view great displays of flowers that dot the countryside.

Our county also boasts more than 30 waterfalls like the one pictured above that when conditions are right flow thru and over the many gorges that line the Ohio River Valley.

For right now there are just too many places and facts to share with you about this great area we call home but sufficed to say Madison isn’t just about man made structures but maybe more importantly about what nature has to offer.

Sunset on Main Street

main street night 1 2016

I captured this image of the sun setting on main street in downtown Madison Indiana last year. I used a long exposure to get the blurred effect of the car lights to add a little interest to the image.

I found a high vantage point to get above the subject and also to create a line to carry my eyes thru the image.

Thanks for taking a look hope you enjoyed the image !!