Monarch Frenzy

Frenzy is the only word I can use to describe what I have been seeing here in Madison Indiana when it comes to Monarch behavior the last couple evenings. And I think this is as close as I may ever come to witnessing a full fledged Monarch roost as I may ever come to see as well.

I work at King’s Daughters’ Health a hospital based in Southern Indiana near Madison. The hospital sits on twenty two acres of land that right now is covered in Goldenrod and White Aster. We are also right in the middle of the annual Monarch migration and with this years brood of butterflies being one of the best, some say in the last twenty years, it has definitely made for a frenzy of activity right at my own workplace!

The last two nights I have observed hundreds of these beautiful creatures and they have been so accommodating to my presence that I have been able to capture many images of these majestic little jewels, probably more than in any other year of photographing them, all in two evenings!

I don’t know how long this will last the weather tonight turned windy and wet and while leaving work I did not see nearly as many gliding over the fields like I had seen in the last couple days. Hopefully the weather will settle and maybe if I am lucky I will get a couple more shots at this amazing spectacle before they continue on their migration south to central Mexico.

There are many times in life’s journey you come across times that make such an impression on you that you carry them with you the rest of your life and I believe this may be one of those times. Some people may scoff at this but when you spend as much time as I have pursuing these and all other butterflies the last few years it’s these times that make it all worth while!

Hope you enjoy the images and maybe someday you will be able to witness a moment like this as well!

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Love Butterfly Style

Maybe I am showing my age but I thought the title from that show from the seventies “Love American Style” was an appropriate rip off title for tonight’s post. It wasn’t exactly Emmy award material but it had a catchy theme song and started the “Happy Days” and “Mork & Mindy” series.

OK that wasn’t exactly that funny or informative so moving on to the real reason I am here and that’s to share some images of the real love making inside the butterfly world.

I captured these wonderful butterflies in compromising situations this past summer in the Madison Indiana area. I really tried to give them their privacy but in the interest of nature photography I had to go against my best judgement and record the deed.

In my defense they really never tried to cover themselves up and seemed to enjoy their exhibitionist performance. Well maybe they didn’t enjoy the exhibition part and only cared for the mating part.

Now this whole post has become a train wreck and maybe I should just stick to posting images of butterflies and stay way from trying to make a humorous blog post. So here we have the Cloudless Sulphurs, Silvery Checkerspots and Viceroys doing what they do best making baby butterflies or should I say baby caterpillars, so they can carry on the great cycle of life these beautiful creatures are traveling.

Thanks for putting up with so called humor and hope yo enjoy the images!!

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!

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 !!

American Lady

american lady 1 2018

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 !!

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.