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Category Archives: Butterfly Photography

Every year the last flower blooming in my prairie is the New England Aster. I’m not sure where they came from but about five years ago I started seeing them in the prairie. I mow the prairie every fall so they are spreading. Generally the asters in the area bloom earlier but I live on a hill and have heavy soil so mine bloom late. Since it is the only flower blooming it is visited by butterflies and bees on a regular basis.

Yesterday there was a Monarch Butterfly feeding. It better get moving south because today is snowing out. There were also a few Painted Ladies hanging around.

The thing I look forward to this time of year is photographing the Honey Bees. With the cold nights the bees overnight on the asters. In the morning they are hardly moving so it is easy to photograph them. One morning they were covered in frost.

Frost Covered Honey Bee

 

I’ve seen quite a few Painted Ladies around the farm the last few weeks. While I was out photographing Monarchs I managed to get a few photos of the Painted Ladies.

 

 

The first couple of weeks in September I had been working out in the yard mowing and repairing my mail box. As I was out and about I would see the occasional monarch butterfly in the surrounding prairie. I tried to get some photos but by the time I retrieved my camera they would be gone. I assumed that they were just a few stragglers hanging around the farm before heading south.

One day I noticed a couple of monarchs out by my mailbox so I went back to the house to get the camera. Of course, when I returned they were gone so I stopped to take some shots in the prairie. When I started walking back to the house I noticed several more Monarchs approaching. I followed them as they moved through the farm in a southerly direction. As they left the prairie several more took their place. I soon realized that what I thought was a few monarch stragglers hanging around was the in fact the fall monarch migration.

I should point out that on my farm I have a house surrounded by a large yard. Between the yard and the pine forest is a prairie buffer. The open land is shaped like a bicycle saddle. The back of the saddle is on the north side of the property and the nose faces the south. I spent most of the day watching the monarchs migrate through. They entered to property from the north and gradually worked their way south and out into neighbors farmland. In all I counted over 40 monarchs in the time I was out taking photos. The irony is that a few days earlier I had driven over 100 miles looking for a cluster of migrating monarchs and didn’t find any.

Most of the prairie flowers were no longer in bloom but I had been doing some selective mowing to cut down the number of goldenrod plants in the prairie. As a result the prairie flowers in the mowed areas were several weeks behind and were still in bloom. These were the plants that the monarchs were feeding on. I need to keep this in mind for next year so that I can provide food for the migrating monarchs.

 

I recently drove up to Crex Meadows to find out what was going on. Not a lot of wildlife to be found but I still managed a few shots.

After the shareholders meeting we drove over to the Green Bay Botanical Gardens. We has stopped the previous evening but discovered that the butterfly house was closed so we decided to come back the next day. We love butterflies and so we were some of the older kids enjoying the butterfly house.

More photos from the Botanical Garden can be found on my website.

There were also quite a few flowers blooming throughout the gardens.

It was a really warm and humid day out. We toured the vegetable garden and got some ideas for our home harden.

We then headed back to Lambeau Field where we were scheduled to take the Packers Heritage Trail Trolley Tour.

 

I happened to be out cleaning humming bird feeders one morning and I noticed this Monarch Butterfly. Clearly it had just emerged and was in the process of drying its wings. It was around for a couple of hours.

 

We were walking on the Red Cedar Trail earlier in the week and noticed a large number of Monarch Butterflies around. It looked like many of them had just emerged. We found this fellow on the trail trying to dry it’s wings. We moved it off of the trail so it didn’t get run over by bikers.

 

 

There are a variety of flowers blooming this wee. The most prominent are the Wild Lupine and the Prairie Smoke. Orange Hawkweed, Goat’s Beard and Blue Flag Iris are also blooming. I used to see a lot of Blue Flag Iris around but most of it seems to have dissapeared.

I managed to photograph a few birds. I haven’t seen any Eastern Bluebirds nesting this year. Most of the nests seem to be occupied by Tree Swallows.

There were a pair of Canada Geese nesting this year. We were on a trip when they started sitting on the eggs. They were still on the nest until the end of this week. Most of the Canada Geese hatched their young two or three weeks ago and we were concerned that something was wrong. The first shot of the male was taken a couple of weeks ago. The second shot was taken of him earlier in the week when he was near the nest and looking depressed. When we went out yesterday both adult geese were gone and we couldn’t find any young. We concluded there was a problem and the young did not hatch.

Some additional wildlife around. This White-tailed Deer took of running. There were also a few butterflies around.

The grasses are also blooming in the prairie area.

Driving through Crex Meadows we found about a dozen Monarch Butterflies.

We have been remodeling the house for the past couple of weeks so most of my photography has been limited to the farm. However, there are lots of interesting things to photograph. The prairie has quite a few wildflowers, Butter-and-eggs, Canadian Goldenrod, Evening Primrose, Purple Coneflowers, Wild Catnip, Black-eyed Susans, and my favorite. I like because, with judicious mowing, I can photography it from early June until frost.

White Alfalfa

 

There are also an abundance of butterflies in the prairie. I have allowed a large number of milkweed plants to grow and I am seeing more Monarch Butterflies than I’ve seen in the past. There are also sulphurs, Red Admirals, Great Spangled Fritillaries and a few others.

Red Admiral

Monarch Butterfly on Alfalfa

Of course there are still summer birds around although some of them have already left. The Eastern Bluebirds and Red-breasted Grosbeaks are now gone for the season. I have at least one family of Baltimore Orioles visiting the feeder. This is the first time they have stayed around longer than a couple of weeks. In the past month they have eaten over a gallon of grape jelly. I’ve noticed several other birds partaking of the jelly as well.  I have quite a few House Finches and American Goldfinches visiting the feeder. The Ruby Throated Hummingbirds are the most abundant birds at the feeders right now and they are going through about several gallons of sugar water every week. Goldfinches and the house finches have been feeding on some catnip that I planted.

More shots from the last few weeks on the farm can be found on my website.