In the details

Sometimes, there is beauty in the big picture. Sometimes, it is in the details.

Weekly photo challenge: Our 2012 in pictures

We hope your 2013 is filled with happiness!
A few photographic snippets from 2012 in the Ouachitan woodlands of Arkansas.

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Way station for a long journey

Every October, we look forward to the monarch butterfly migration. Two weekends ago, I spent a couple of hours in one of the gardens, ripping out the overgrown mass of foot-high grass and weeds, as well as the dried brown coreopsis and black-eyed Susan stems that were now wrapped tightly by a white morning glory-type vine.

In the midst of the mess were giant goldenrods and bunches of a woody-stemmed, white baby’s breath-looking flowers, all lassoed and pulled to the ground by the little white trumpet vines. A few bug bites and a lot of sweat later, the undergrowth was cleared away and the nectar-bearing goldenrods and white mystery flowers freed and staked to stand tall as a way station for the monarchs’ annual southward migration.

Today, they came to the mountain.

MAKING A PIT STOP — This monarch spends time gathering nectar for its long journey south.


The lepidoptera-mania continues. Today’s catches include a clouded sulphur and an orange gulf fritillary.

ORANGE you glad I didn't say Monarch again?
SUNNY -- Cloudy sulphur butterfly makes a visit outside the office window.

Dark wings

A Canadian cold front gave us a drastic change in temperatures from Sunday’s record high of 88 to this morning’s freeze warning, complete with frost in the valley.  The migrating monarchs haven’t reappeared since the mercury went south, but was no deterrent to the red-spotted purple that was flitting around the trees this morning.

FEELING BLUE -- A red spotted purple (Limenitis arthemis astyanax) lights on a wild blackberry bush.
ON THE WING -- Red-spotted purple flies to his next stop.

Butterfly paradise II

The saltbush is beginning to fade while the goldenrod comes into its own, so with warm, dry weather, we may yet receive visiting monarchs. Until then, gray hairstreaks, clouded sulphurs, pearl crescents, fiery skippers and American ladies will keep the virtual shutter clicking.

TIGER AND HIS TAIL -- Eastern Tiger Swallowtail gleans nectar from blossoms outside the office window.
FIERY -- Single fiery skipper visits saltbush flowers, his unfurled proboscis buried deeply into the blossom.
ON FINAL -- Wasp joins two fiery skippers in the saltbush.
OPEN WINGS -- A pearl crescent butterfly rests in the afternoon sun.
BLACK AND ORANGE -- Fiery skipper stands out against the shadows.