Monday, July 23, 2012

Monarchs, Moths and Magic

After such an expansive experience swimming with and photographing whale sharks, I have wondered what I would write about and photograph next....I decided to see what came to the garden first this week and I was pleasantly surprised. I was graced by a visiting Monarch butterfly and a moth on the same day!
The moth landed on my front door which seems to be a popular spot for them. This looks very similar to the one that was here earlier in the season. This time around, I placed the moth on an aqua background. What a beautiful surprise!

The butterfly bushes attract the most eager namesake. This particular one was flying around my head for about ten minutes. It stayed until one of my patients arrived for a session. I was able to get some nice pictures. I have been reading a lot about moths and butterflies this summer since they have been so close to me. 
Monarch butterflies have four stages of growth, the egg, larvae, caterpillar, cocoon and butterfly. The larvae only eat milkweed, which offers them chemicals that make them poisonous to predators. Their orange color also acts as a protection mechanism as it speaks as a warning to frogs and birds who may want to pray upon them. 

Here are two pictures of the Monarch that came for a visit. How do these delicate creatures migrate thousands of miles from here? What is it in their biology that has programed them to fly for such long distances across water to their warmer meetings places in the winter? They have been found to travel for up to 50 miles per day and at speeds reaching 12 miles per hour! As butterflies they consume the nectar of other flowers, as larvae only milkweed leaves. 

So here we are and the summer heat is upon us and everything is in full bloom. The pictures below were taken in Southampton in an open land preserve. This is a magical space that I had never visited until last night. There are so many birds there too! I was so happy that I had my camera with me to take pictures in the soft evening light. The goldfinches flying about and chirping in tandem. I have never seen so many gathered at once. 

Here are a few more photos taken at dusk. I will go back next week with a picnic basket and take more pictures of this magical place. There is a beautiful stone bench where one can sit and enjoy the scenery and set up a tripod. 

Until then.....

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