Butterflies and Moths Photography Week In Review

Lepidoptera Life

“How does one become butterfly?’ Pooh asked pensively. ‘You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar,’ Piglet replied.“

– A. A. Milne

 

Rain, rain, go away. Does anyone else here feel this way?

I can’t remember a fall in North Texas, in recent years, that has been this wet. We finally got a break today for several hours, not really sunny hours, but at least hours without water. If I was grabbing my camera and dashing out for a break, so were all the insects, gathering as much pollen and nectar as insectly possible before the down-pours of evening hit again.

Before I actually realized I should make a break for it, I happened to look out the window with baby A. E. at the pollinator garden. She exclaimed, “Buddafly! I touch it!” And there they were…Monarchs everywhere! We easily counted eight just outside the window alone. I knew as soon as naptime rolled around that I had to get outside. You see, if you remember from my very first post on this blog, J. and I participate in Monarch Watch by tagging butterflies each fall. Last year we tagged twenty-five, but these were all hatched from caterpillars we collected off of Milkweed in our garden. This year it’s a different story. Our Milkweed has not been prolific enough to support caterpillars, so, at present, we are forced to try and tag wild butterflies passing through. Sometimes this can be difficult and then sometimes it can actually be easy.

On a day like today, where a break from rain is a blessing for everyone, the butterflies are willing to sit for longer periods of time to nectar. In those cases, you simply come up behind a butterfly with its wings closed and gently pinch the wings together. Then with your other hand you take a small sticker, that has already been pre-placed on the end of a toothpick, and roll it onto the central section of the hindwing. Then you slide your pinching hand down a bit and just press the hindwings together to make sure the sticker is secure. Let go, and the Monarch then continues on its merry way.

I reviewed the 2017 tagging data today from Monarch Watch to see if any of our butterflies from last year had been located in either Mexico or other parts of the United States and Canada. Sadly, none of our numbers were retrieved. But there’s always this year, and we’re trying to double our chances by tagging fifty! So far, we are at nine. If this rain keeps up, my hopes might be dashed in reaching our goal. We’ll just have to wait out the storms and see. That’s half of life, isn’t it? The “wait and see.”

In any event, one thing was crystal clear today…with the Monarchs came a plethora of Lepidoptera. There were seemingly butterflies and moths and caterpillars invading all corners of our space. It was spectacular! I couldn’t look in any direction without seeing a flit or a float. So, in honor of the Monarch and all the flutter of fall activity, I have chosen my seven favorite butterfly and moth photos from today for my photography week in review.

I guess you could really call this a week in review in a day! Hopefully next week will open up greater artistic opportunities, but this post does go to show that you can capture some pretty amazing things in a very short period of time. In fact, while someone else takes a nap, you can literally take in the world.

 

All the best,

A. J.

 

“Orange Blossom Special” (Female Monarch nectars on Cosmos)

 

“Who Are You?” (Eastern Black Swallowtail Caterpillar enjoying a little hookah, or is that fennel?)

 

“Winged Dali” (Armyworm Moth on Cosmos)

 

“One Piece of Chocolate Cake, One Ice Cream Cone, One Pickle” (Cross-striped Cabbageworm devours a Brassica)

 

“Victoria’s Secret” (Catocala (“Underwing”) Moth nectars on Black Knight Butterfly Bush)

 

“The Whole World Smiles with You” (Hawaiian Beet Webworm Moth relaxes with a grin on Frostweed)

 

“Have Passport, Will Travel” (Female Monarch tagged and fueling up for the journey)

 

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    susurrus
    October 15, 2018 at 12:28 pm

    I’ve never seen a butterfly tagged before.

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