A Better Day for Butterflies

I have been a little disappointed this year with my butterfly photography.  To get good butterfly photographs you have to have a good habitat for them.  I moved this spring, and I have had a hard time finding some good places close to home.  I know some terrific habitats that are a long drive away, but have struggled a little bit finding some close-by places.

I went to Swede Point Park this morning–it is only about a ten minute drive away.  I have been there in the past, but was not under the impression that it was good butterfly habitat.  In fact, none were out this morning because it was cool and rainy, but I saw some good stands of common milkweed and dogbane.

This afternoon was a different story.  The sun came up and it got hot.  And I did find butterflies.

Red admirals were everywhere.  The common milkweed and the dogbane were loaded with them.

This American lady was on the dogbane.

Silver-spotted skippers will visit flowers in the conventional butterfly manner–walking around on top of the flower.  They will also land on the side of or underneath the flowers, and seem comfortable in any position.

The reconstructed prairie was full of blooming foxglove beardtongue.  This flower is not really a good butterfly flower.  It is pollinated mostly by bees, which have to force their way up into the flower to get the nectar.  I saw this silver-spotted skipper visit two different flowers, although it was obviously a difficult task for it.  With effort, the butterfly seemed to be getting rewarded.

This little wood satyr was near the wooded area, but would flit around in the grasses and poison ivy.

Paths were mowed through the prairie, and this meadow fritillary settled on a clover flower there.

A large stand of butterfly milkweed was fenced off and noted with a sign near the edge of the prairie.  Several great-spangled fritillaries were visiting the plant.

Flowers help a lot, but after a rain butterflies can often be found getting moisture and minerals from the wet ground, particularly along gravel roads.  This is a hackberry emperor.

The butterflies are out.  Now is a good time to see them.

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About the roused bear

Nature photographer from central Iowa.
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