Category Archives: outdoors

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.

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Gliding Giants

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This is one of those images that doesn’t present itself to you very much.

I captured these two Giant Swallowtails at Splinter Ridge Fish & Wildlife Area earlier this summer as they were gliding thru an open meadow in some type of courtship ritual.

I was lucky enough to be following them when they made a sudden loop and sailed right over me and my camera for a once in a lifetime shot. I fired off about 30 shots and I came up with this one image that I believe best represents this wonderful experience.

The cool thing is that these were the first Giant Swallowtails that I have ever observed or let alone photographed making it an amazing experience.

I hope you enjoy the image and I will share some info about this butterfly that I pulled from Wikipedia….

Papilio cresphontes, the giant swallowtail or in its larval phase the orange dog or orange puppy, is a swallowtail butterfly common in parts of North America and marginally into South America. In the United States and Canada it is mainly found in the south and east. With a wingspan of about 10–16 cm (3.9–6.3 in) it is the largest butterfly in Canada and the United States.

An adult’s wingspan is about 100–160 mm (3.9–6.3 in) The body and wings are dark brown to black with yellow bands. There is a yellow eyespot in each wing’s tail. The abdomen has bands of yellow along with the previously mentioned brown. Adults are quite similar to the adults of another Papilio species, P. thoas.

The mature caterpillar resembles bird droppings to deter predators, and if that doesn’t work they use their orange osmeteria. These are “horns” which they can display and then retract. The coloration is dingy brown and or olive with white patches and small patches of purple. Citrus fruit farmers often call the caterpillars orange dogs or orange puppies because of the devastation they can cause to their crops.

In the United States, P. cresphontes is mostly seen in deciduous forest and citrus orchards where they are considered a major pest. They fly between May and August where there are two broods in the north and three in the south. They can range from southern California (where they have been seen from March to December, reaching peak abundance in late summer/early fall), Arizona as deep south as Mexico north into southeastern Canada. Outside the United States and Canada they are found in Mexico, Central America, Colombia, Jamaica and Cuba.

Giant swallowtails fly from Late May–August, but in some areas of the southern United States such as Texas and Louisiana, they may be seen as late as October. All giant swallowtails have a distinctive flight pattern which generally looks as if they are “hopping” through the air. Females tend to beat their wings slowly but move quickly. Because females have such large wings, each wing beat will carry it a long way. Males however, tend to have more of a darty flight. Males beat their wings rapidly, but they move slower than females because their wings are smaller and each beat carries them less far. Giant swallowtails in general fly fast and high and can be difficult to capture.

Monarch Sunset

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Warm evening light bathes this beautiful Monarch Butterfly as it stops to rest and feed on its long journey to Mexico. Monarch butterflies perform annual migrations across North America which have been called “one of the most spectacular natural phenomena in the world”.

Starting in September and October, eastern and northeastern populations migrate from southern Canada and the United States to overwintering sites in central Mexico where they arrive around November. They start the return trip in March, arriving around July. No individual butterfly completes the entire round trip; female monarchs lay eggs for the next generation during the northward migration[2] and at least four generations are involved in the annual cycle.

Similarly, the western populations migrate annually between regions west of the Rocky Mountains including northern Canada and overwintering sites on the coast of California.

I captured this amazing specimen just south of the Big Oaks NWR near Madison Indiana the fields that surround that area have been planted in an wonderful assortment of native wildflowers and this year I have been blessed to capture some awesome images of the great variety that utilized the fields.

Hope you enjoy the image and thanks for visiting my blog !!

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.

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 !!!

Broadway Fountain

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Here is one of my takes on the Broadway Fountain probably the most photographed site in Madison Indiana. I could probably go on and on with info about the fountain and will do it in the future but for now just thought I might share one of my favorite images of the hundreds I have captured from this historic site !!

The park itself is used for everything from weddings to music and is a cool stop on a summer day.The fountain is a beautiful piece of architectural work and is a must see when visiting Madison.

Hope you enjoy the image and thanks for stopping by to take a look !!

Wildflowers

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This slideshow is an example of just a few of the many wildflowers that I captured this year here in Jefferson County Indiana. They were all photographed in Clifty Falls State Park earlier this spring.

Some of the best wildflower displays I have ever witnessed came from our own backyard and if giving a chance you should get out and experience the wonderful natural diversity that this area has to offer.

Clifty Falls State Park, Splinter Ridge FWA and Big Oaks NWR are just a few places to go and view the beautiful display of wildflowers that inhabit our home.