Monarch Butterflies Arrive in Alberta

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Four photos in one to show you the movement of butterfy wings. But not just any butterfly – this is a Monarch Butterfly! And it is in my garden! (Forgive all the exclamation marks, but I don’t think I have ever seen a Monarch butterfly in my yard before).

My very own Monarch Butterfly spent much of the morning  sucking up the nectar of the Pink Painted Daisies.

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There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly.
– Richard Buckminster Fuller –

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Women, don’t get a tattoo. That butterfly looks great on your breast when you’re twenty or thirty, but when you get to seventy, it stretches into a condor.
– Billy Elmer –

A list of ‘Remarkable Feats of Navigation’ has to include the migration of these Monarch Butterflies.

Perhaps the Monarch in my yard found some milkweed and laid eggs, or maybe it was one of the many monarch butterflies that flew all the way from Canada to a winter home in Mexico – a journey of several thousand miles. Once in Mexico, Monarchs breed, lay eggs and eventually die. Three or four more generations of Monarchs come and go before another Monarch reaches Canada the following summer.

The Flutter Files
Scientific Name: Danaus plexippus
Alias: Monarch Butterfly
Migration: In Summer from as far north as Southern Canada to wintering grounds in Southern California or Mexico.
Date Seen: July 6, 2012
Location: North of Calgary, Alberta, Canada

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is Movement.

Alfalfa Looper Moth – “I Can Hear You!”

My Autumn Joy Sedum has had a very good year. Liberated from the shade of an aggressive Lilac, and planted in a sunny location, it has responded with a wonderful show of fall flowers. How nice of it to bring a spot of colour to a flower bed full of plants that went to seed weeks ago!

The insects have been visiting the Sedum so often that I have to think it will soon run out of pollen and nectar! In addition to the bees and hoverflies, several species of moths have been attracted to the vivid pink flowers. I was keen to take pictures of another type of insect, so I closed in on the moth with my new macro lens. The moth did not budge. It was not alarmed by my presence – until I clicked the shutter.

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In the blink of an eye, the moth was gone. I had a nice photo of the sedum, but no moth. So I tried again.

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With my second shot I caught a glimpse of the moth before it exited, stage right.

My third attempt wasn’t all that successful either.

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For my fourth attempt, I backed away a bit, but the moth could still hear the shutter.

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For my last shot, I backed away a bit more, and this time I got the moth, a bee and a hoverfly, all in motion – an Insect Trifecta!