Two is company Three is Death !!

monarch 6 2018

Sometimes things hide in plain site and those things can be deadly !!

While photographing Monarch butterflies in a field of New England Asters the other day near my home, in Madison Indiana, I came across these two lovely Monarchs and followed them closely for about fifteen minutes.

I spent the entire time completely enthralled with their movements and feeding patterns. Even though the wind was blowing pretty steady at the time I was able to capture several good images from the shoot.

And as I said before sometimes things can hide in plain site, even though I spent considerable time observing these two wonderful gems little did I know that the grim reaper was at their door, in the form of a Carolina Mantis. It wasn’t till I got home and downloaded the images on my computer did I notice the beast.

Hard to believe an insect so ferocious and larger than life could have been right under my nose for so long and I never even had a clue. And that is probably why they are at the top of the food chain in the insect world. And we won’t even bring up their sex life lol !!

I worked the area with the Monarchs for around fifteen minutes and then moved on not knowing if the predator got it’s prey or whether the butterflies escaped with their life’s. I guess that is one of the many mysteries of nature.

Thanks for stopping by and taking a look !!

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Summer Wildflowers

It’s funny that I have spent my entire summer photographing butterflies and even though I have captured many of the great summer wildflowers that grow here in the Madison Indiana area I have neglected to post any here on my blog. And what makes it funny is that I love to photograph wildflowers more than anything else !!

Here are three examples of beautiful wildflowers that call the area home. Michigan Lily, Black-eyed Susan and the Wild Bergamot.
All three are beautiful wildflowers but their real importance comes from the fact that butterflies and other pollinators love them.

There is nothing quite as beautiful as a butterfly feeding on a wildflower in an open feed on a late summer afternoon !!

I will have many more examples of the different wildflowers that we have here in southern Indiana and will share them at a later time. Thanks for stopping by and taking a look !!

Monarch Butterflies in Love

monarch 1 2018

I captured these two Monarchs perpetuating the species and keeping the Monarch migration alive.

This couples offspring will be emerging from their chrysalis anytime now and will then begin their nearly three thousand mile migration to central Mexico for the winter.

I captured these two little lovers just outside Madison Indiana in a wildflower field filled with iron-weed and common milkweed for which the milkweed is the host plant for this beautiful butterfly. The milkweed is the only plant that the Monarch will lay its eggs on and the caterpillars will then eat the milkweed and begin the cycle anew.

The milkweed has been disappearing from its native areas because of over spraying and mowing of roadside ditches and fields which has caused a massive decline in the population of the monarch.

Although there has been a great deal of publicity on the plight of the monarchs which in the short term may help their numbers increase there still needs to be a much larger effort in restoring the fields and other natural areas back to their native state to bring back the population to its once incredible numbers !!

Swallowtails on Blazing Star

swallowtails 1 2018

Here is an image from Big Oaks NWR of a male and female swallowtail feeding on blazing star wildflowers. The blazing star is a wonderful wildflower that attracts many varieties of butterflies and other pollinators.

There is no more a beautiful site than a Blazing Star stalk covered in blooms with multiple butterflies fighting for feeding rights.

Coming across a field of these beautiful wildflowers is like hitting the jackpot for butterfly viewing, they tend to stay very close to the plant and will hold still for long periods of time as well.

Thanks for stopping by and taking a look.

Zebra Swallowtail

zebra 1 2018

Another awesome butterfly captured at Big Oaks NWR in Madison Indiana. This is one of my favorite butterflies not because of their beauty or elegance but because of their aggressive nature.

As an example last year I was sitting in a lawn chair photographing great spangled fritillaries on butterfly weed at Splinter Ridge FWA in southern Indiana. The plant was covered with the fritillaries but this one beat up zebra would fly in and run off every other butterfly on that plant and even took aim at me a couple times flying right up into my face just daring me to do something !!

So even though they are one of the most beautiful and unique butterflies that grace our local fields and woodlots it is their fighting spirit that really makes them one of my favorites !!

Thanks for stopping by and having a look.

Tiger Swallowtail

tiger 1 2018.jpg

Another great butterfly the Tiger Swallowtail probably the most abundant butterfly here in the Madison Indiana area.

This wonderful butterfly is one of the largest and most beautiful butterflies to view and photograph, generally they will sit pretty still if you don’t move to fast and they really enjoy the many garden flowers that we have here in Madison.

This subject was photographed at Big Oaks NWR and was feeding on Blazing Star which is one of the best wildflowers for attracting pollinators.

Hope you enjoy the image and if you get out in the fields or backyard keep your eyes peeled for this great Butterfly !!

Blue Eyed Mary

blueeyed mary 1 2018

Here is another beautiful little wildflower that grows in abundance here in the Madison Indiana area. Right now this great flower is growing in large clusters along the wooded hillsides and ravines in the eastern part of our county.

They have a very small bloom on them but the color of that bloom and the vast number of them make for a dazzling display for you to enjoy.

Right now a ride thru the eastern side of the county is actually a great time to see all the wonderful wildflowers that are right now blooming in full glory.

Hope you enjoy the image and thanks for taking a look !!