Me and my shadow

While pausing for a moment on a weekend walkabout, a daredevil butterfly began flying tight circles around me at knee level. Several mad minutes passed as I tried to follow his flight round and round and round. Never could catch the little booger, but settled for his shadow.
5-8-16 Me and My Shadow


Butterflies and dragonflies in flight can be mesmerizing.  However, their erratic flight styles can drive you crazy when trying to capture them in pixels, whether panning with a real viewfinder or even worse, trying to pan using a digital viewfinder and its fraction-of-a-second lag (and no drive or burst function).

Well, a little spray and pray with the shutter yielded my favorite shot of the morning as this red-spotted purple moved through the canopy of the valley forest.

butterfly flying.
TAKING FLIGHT – Red-spotted purple flits among trees in the valley forest.

The nectar games

When the competition at the feeder was too rough, some hummingbirds opted to find nectar in the wildflowers below. The competition there was pretty good too — what with all those butterflies, bees and other pollinators. Here, a hummingbird goes for what must be the juiciest flower in the garden, since the butterfly was already there.

7-26 HB-Butterfly8-Edit
7-26 HB-Butterfly7-Edit


A red-spotted purple emerges from its chrysalis July 22, a week after the photo on the left was taken. What a treat to catch this event just before having to start the morning commute.

red-spotted purple emerges from chrysalis
Before and after. 


This red-spotted purple probably escaped a predator at the cost of a wing and the ability to escape again. Though grounded, he continued to spread his wings in the sunshine.

Red-spotted purple butterfly with one wing.
STILL BEAUTIFUL – Red-spotted purple butterfly warms himself on the roadway.

The monarch is back!

The monarchs are back. Well, at least one monarch. This one was trying to rest in the goldenrod this morning, but found himself being buffeted by breezes, honey bees, wasps and other pollinators. You can see the wear on his wings — appearing as scratches in some of his orange areas.


Some days, you just need a butterfly

Was out washing the car this afternoon and saw this common buckeye making the rounds in this sweet-scented wildflower growing next to the driveway. They were a welcome distraction — especially when, during the weekends, we become obsessed with getting done those things left undone during the work week. The hose and rags got put aside for a few glorious standing-still-moments in the sunshine.  Some days, you just need a butterfly.

In a few weeks, we should be seeing the monarch butterflies sweeping through on their southward migration.  We keep a couple of patches of goldenrods for these beautiful insects to light upon as they head south. The Blonde Gardener has a nice post about being a Monarch Watch Station and a couple of posts about the monarchs’ life cycle.  Maybe next year, we’ll try the watch station idea.

Buckeye butterfly on flowers.
Common Buckeye butterfly collecting nectar.
Buckeye butterfly on tiny white flowers.
Buckeye making the rounds. The tiny white flowers are dotted with other insects seeking nectar.

Winged beauties

The last few weeks in the Ouachitas have been a treat for the eyes.