American Lady

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Here is another butterfly that inhabits the Madison Indiana area. I captured this beautiful American Lady at Big Oaks NWR earlier this summer.

The American Lady is a wonderful butterfly with amazing wing markings and coloration it is widely distributed across North America. They like low vegetation in open areas, they have 3-4 broods a year and feed on many different wildflowers but are especially fond of button-bush which this one is feeding on in the image I have shared.

The American Lady has two large eye spots on it’s hind wings whereas the Painted Lady has four, both butterflies have a striking resemblance to each other and it can be difficult to differentiate between the two sometimes.

They are also very skittish and it can be extremely difficult to photograph or even approach them at times. A slow advance with as little movement as possible are the best way to get adjacent for very best viewing or photography.

So here is the image and a bit of info on this great butterfly hope you enjoy the post and now is the time to get out and find these beautiful little jewels of nature !!

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Monarch Butterflies in Love

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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

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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.

Thunderstruck

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Great song to be listening to when this scene unfolded.

Last year I sat on the Ohio River in Madison Indiana and waited for just the right moment to capture this image as thunderstorms raged just south of the river in Trimble County Kentucky.

I waited and waited for just the right moment and of course I missed it time after time and finally after 400 times I was able to capture what I thought was a pretty good image !!

I guess the moral would be perseverance pays off or maybe just be lucky instead lol !!

Whatever it was it worked out for me this stormy night !!

Zebra Swallowtail

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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

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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

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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 !!