Monarchs on the Move

The last few nights have been amazing following the Monarchs here in Madison Indiana. It looks like the Monarch Migration is in full swing and looks to be one of the most impressive ones in recent memory.

I really believe I have seen more Monarchs the last few weeks than I have see in my lifetime. One day last week I stood in one spot and gazed over a field of New England Aster and Goldenrod and counted thirty six feeding on the blooms.

But I have heard stories of people just to our north coming across roosts of these magnificent creatures where hundreds have landed for the night, that is what I am looking for! What an incredible sight would that be to behold.

I guess if I keep looking and hitting the fields and woodlots here in Southern Indiana sooner or later I will get my wish and if not it has been an incredible year for photographing and viewing butterflies.

There isn’t too much time left before they will all be gone as the seasons change but it will cool down and the leaves will change and more opportunities will be there for me to get out and photograph all the beauty the area has to offer.

Thanks for stopping by and taking a look!

Advertisements

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 !!

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 !!

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.

Viceroy

viceroy 3 2018

Another great butterfly from the Madison Indiana area photographed at Big Oaks NWR in Jefferson County. This is a really cool little butterfly that mimics the larger Monarch butterfly to protect itself from birds and other predators.

The Monarchs have a really bad taste to predators, so I have been told, so the Viceroy has mimicked the look of the Monarch to hopefully protect themselves from birds and other predators that may want to have a taste of them.

Whether that is true or not I am not really sure, recently I have read that Viceroys have always had a bad taste.I would sure love to know who is tasting all these butterflies and is it really a good idea to be doing that !! Please excuse my attempt at being humorous.

Whatever the case they are one of the most beautiful butterflies that grace our area and are always a wonderful site to behold. Thanks for stopping by and taking a look !!

Black Swallowtail

black 1 2018

Here is another great butterfly from Big Oaks NWR in Madison Indiana. This is the Black Swallowtail not to be confused with the Pipevine Swallowtail or the Spicebush Swallowtail or the Dark Morph Tiger Swallowtail, this is why butterfly identification can be confusing lol !!

It’s always a good idea to carry a butterfly book with you when searching them out and even then it’s still not easy telling them apart especially skippers !! But it is a very rewarding family or solo activity.

And now is the time to be out looking for these beautiful little flying gems, you can find them as close as your own backyard or in the biggest nature preserve just look for flowers and open sunlit areas and then you can drive yourself crazy trying to id all the different species lol !!

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 !!