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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Sunset over Madison

another sunset 1 2018

I try to get out and photograph as much as possible but as we all know weather is a huge factor in where and when I do get to photograph. And as you know the weather can change at a moments notice and in this image things changed at a crazy speed that I almost didn’t catch.

For the last month we have experienced an over abundance of rain and that has really hampered my time out. So a couple nights ago once again we had rain all day that led into the evening. I arrived home walked out into the yard with my dog and after observing how dark and flat the light was and with rain still lightly falling I decided to ditch another evening and went inside to catch up on post processing.

Sitting at my computer I noticed a change in the light streaming from the crack in the blinds of the window. I happened to be on facebook at the time, when my feed came alive from posts about the incredible rainbow we were experiencing at that moment. I quickly grabbed my camera bag and ran out of the house to find the slowly fading rainbow in the sky and my heart dropped, as I did get a few good shots, but didn’t make out in time to get the rainbow when it was displaying at it’s fullest display.

But once again time came into effect I figured since I was already out I would wait a bit and see how the sunset turned out. I think I made the right call on this one I eventually captured another great sunset over Madison Indiana from one of my favorite spots.

I guess if there is a moral to the story it would be that things in nature can change very quickly, from the time I got home to dark cloud covered day it went to a amazing rainbow and then to this wonderful sunset a little more than a hour had passed. So don’t give up too soon when you go out and be patient with the changing conditions it can and does get better out there !!

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!

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 !!

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 !!

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.