Archive for the ‘Moths and Butterfiles’ Category

This photo is of the Buffalo River about a mile below Ponca; also, the first Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly and a pair of immature Blad Eagles at Steel Creek:

Zebra Swallowtail 3/31/15

Zebra Swallowtail 3/31/15

Immature Bald Eagles 3/31/15

Immature Bald Eagles 3/31/15

Buffalo River

Buffalo River



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Running up to Jasper this morning, I saw literally hundreds of Monarchs flying along side the road. When I got back home I counted about 5-7 Monarchs per minute flying over my home for 5 minutes (that is 25+). Seems to be a great comeback this year. Unfortunately, they are fighting a headwind 10-20 MPH but are all flying SW but it is so good to see them after last year’s BUST. Then, on my way back I saw and photographed what has to be the last Eastern Kingbirds stopping over, in migration:


eastern kingbird in migration


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After a disastrous 2013, where I spotted maybe 3-4 Monarchs, 2014 is looking up, During the past week, I have seen about 50-75 each morning cruising Southwestward towards Mexico. Yesterday morning I saw over 100; simply cruising in that same direction. Today there are 7 on one butterfly bush (non-native) on a stop over. With several more days of nice weather forecast here; these appears to be a GOOD year for them. I’ll never forget 2012, when I had about 1,000 on a snakeroot patch behind my home. I took a short video of one that was on the bush with 6 others at 4:05 PM this afternoon taken with a handheld Canon G15:




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IMG_6672 2

Just a small group of photos taken from 20-25 feet with a Canon 7D with a Canon EF300L IS f/2.8 with a 1.4C canon TC. A red-spotted Purple, Tiger Swallowtails, Spangles Fritillaries, Giant Swallowtails on the Little Buffalo gravel bars, Pipe-vine Swallowtails, and saw 6 Monarchs and about a dozen Cloudless Sulfurs today too.
















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BTW, I saw 7 Monarchs today:



















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Taken yesterday on a late monarda (Bee Balm) and a late thistle; yesterday was sunny and warm:








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Just a photo taken with a Canon 5D Mark II and EF300L IS f/2.8 and a 1.4X TC:



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Just a typical fall photo from my backyard on one snakeweed; can you ID them ?


IMG_7803 2

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I have only seen these a few times in my 67 years. Mostly, during my childhood in east-central Missouri. I would see maybe 1 each week. Then later in my 20’s I would see a few by the Huzzah Creek in south-central Missouri. That I can remember, that is the last time I saw one. Until Yesterday !

It is the Diana Fritillary Butterfly. Since then they have retreated to only two know locations: the Southern Appalachians in North Carolina and parts of South-Carolina AND in the mountains of Arkansas and Oklahoma; primarily the Ouachita’s.

The Diana Fritillary (Speyeria diana) is a butterfly found in several wooded areas in southern and eastern North America (primarily in the Arkansas River valley, several counties in South Carolina, and spots along the Appalachian mountain range). The species exhibits marked sexual dimorphism, with males of the species exhibiting an orange color on the edges of their wings, with a burnt orange underwing. Females are dark blue, with dark, almost dusty underwings, and are also larger than males.

The larvae feed on violet leaves. Dianas are unusual in that they do not lay their eggs directly on the host plant, instead scattering the eggs around the base of the plant. Upon hatching, larvae burrow into the ground over winter to emerge in spring. Adults feed on flower nectar and dung.

On February 28, 2007, Act 156 of the Arkansas General Assembly designated the Diana fritillary as the official state butterfly. Introduced by Representative John Paul Wells of Logan County, the legislation for making the butterfly a state symbol took note of the butterfly’s beauty, educational importance, and impact on tourism. Arkansas is the only state to designate the Diana fritillary as its state butterfly; pairing it with its state insect, the honeybee. Arkansas is the twenty-sixth state to designate a butterfly as a state symbol.

So 40 years later ……….

The photo I took yesterday is of a pretty beat up Male Diana Fritillary; near the Diana’s Host woodland violets. Taken with a Canon 70D with a Canon EF300L IS f/2.8 from 10 feet:


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After last years bust (think I only saw one Monarch all summer and fall), this week has been a blessing. I saw 5 on Tuesday, 7 on Wednesday, 7 on Thursday, 5 on Friday and 3 already today, Saturday). Of course Im not constantly looking and am gone much of the day. They are using Butterfly bushes and Snakeweed for nectar this mid summer.  Im hoping the crises is mending itself; photos taken Thursday with a Canon 1DS and a Canon EF300L f/2.8 IS:




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