Category Archives: nature photography

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.

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Butterfly Survey

It’s been my best year yet for butterfly photography and attending the butterfly survey at Big Oaks NWR was a definite highlight..
Joseph R. Robb made the experience not only a educational adventure but also guided us thru one of the most beautiful and diverse ecosystems in the midwest. My son and I cant thank him and all the others enough who volunteered their time to make it such a wonderful experience.
We counted 46 different species and a rough total of 1590 butterflies what a great day !!
Can’t wait till next year !!!

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 !!

Sunset on the Ohio River

Been over two years since my last post many things in my life have changed, things I can share later but for now I just wanted to figure out how to use my blog again.

So here is a pic from the Ohio River bridge a few days back hope you enjoy !!

cropped-fireworks-5-2017.jpg

Virginia Bluebells / Clifty Falls State Park Wildflowers

Changing up a bit here and I think I will start posting images from what is my favorite subject to photograph and that is wildflowers. And I will share them from one of my favorite spots to photograph at Clifty Falls State Park near Madison Indiana.

Clifty has an incredibly diverse amount of wildflowers and some of the finest displays in the midwest. If you get a chance to visit in mid to late April I would definitely make the trip I don’t think you would be disappointed not only are the wildflowers worth the trip but hiking in the park is second to none.

The subject I am sharing today is also one of my favorites and that is the Virginia Bluebell.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Mertensia virginica (common names Virginia bluebell, Virginia cowslip, lungwort oysterleaf, Roanoke bells) is a spring ephemeral plant with bell-shaped sky-blue flowers, native to eastern North America.

Virginia bluebell has rounded and gray-green leaves, borne on stems up to 24 in (60 cm) tall. They are petiolate at the bottom of the flower stem and sessile at the top.

Flowerbuds are pink. Flowers have five petals fused into a tube, five stamens, and a central pistil (carpel). They are borne in mid-spring in nodding spiral-shaped cymes at the end of arched stems. Flowers are usually blue, but white or pink flowers occur rarely.

The stamens and stigma are spaced too far apart for self-fertilization. The flower can be pollinated by bumblebees but, due to its funnel shape bumblebees must hover, making the bumblebee a rare pollinator. Butterflies are the most common pollinators because they can easily perch on the edges and still enjoy the nectar.

In early summer, each fertilized flower produces four seeds within wrinkled nuts, and the plant goes dormant till the next spring.

Plants are hardy to hardiness zone 3: −40 °C (−40 °F).

That is the detailed description which I am too lazy to come up with myself and I will share one of my original images I captured earlier this spring.

Hope you enjoy the info and image and thanks for taking the time to stop by and take a look.

 

virginia bluebells 1 2015