Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Beckley Butterflies


Golden Meadow
 It was a beautiful morning, not too hot, so we decided to walk at Beckley Creek Park. What a great decision that was! Everything was golden. All the gold wildflowers were blooming, under the clear blue sky.
Orange Jewelweed
 Along Floyd's Fork we saw both orange and yellow jewelweed blooming in the shade.
 Occasionally, a little spot of blue or purple poked its head up through the gold flowers.
Monarch Butterfly
But the most amazing thing we saw were the scores of Monarch butterflies, landing on golden flowers, or dancing in circles with each other. The Monarch numbers have been so small because of chemicals, then the big snow storm in Mexico at the wintering location. I haven't seen more than a few all summer, despite the milkweed we planted.
Monarch Caterpillar
We found one little Monarch Caterpillar painfully crawling across the gravel, in the hot sunshine. Following the box turtle rule, we gently picked him up and moved him to the grass in the direction he was crawling. 
Monarch in flight
When a Monarch lands on a flower, it instantly folds its wings, while it takes a sip of nectar. No matter how many burst shots I took, I could not get one with it's wings open. I was getting dizzy turning in circles as I tried to find and focus on flying Monarchs. Yep, getting a shot of one in flight would be serendipity. Look carefully. Do you see a Monarch in flight in this shot?

Spotted Silver Skipper
Hackberry Emperor
Buckeye Butterfly
Actually, I saw more different kinds of butterflies today, than I have seen in many years. This Buckeye is the first in at least 4 years.

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