I flew into Costa Rica a day early, so I could be there when my tour participants arrived. This year we were back at the Hotel Bougainvillea, my favorite place to stay near San Jose…mainly because of its amazing gardens…acres of mature gardens with a huge variety of plants, birds, and butterflies. The rains that filled our first two days of the tour did not start until that evening, so I had a sunny afternoon in the garden to photograph the many butterflies that are attracted to one particular patch of flowers. Here we have the Orange-tip, a Zebra Longwing (Heliconius), Crimson Patch, Julia Longwing, Banded Peacock, and Banner Metalmark…and they were all within a few feet of each other. I literally stood in one spot and photographed all but the Crimson Patch. (Does anyone know why this is not the Orange Patch? I tried to look it up this morning but could find nothing.) Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. All but the Crimson Patch at ISO 100, that at ISO 250. All at f4. 1/500th, 1/640, and 1/1000th.
Red Admiral: Kennebunk Plains Preserve, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — This appears to be a fairly fresh Red Admiral that I caught among the low growing Asters which currently cover the Kennebunk Plains. The Red Admiral is apparently found throughout Maine, but I am not totally certain that I have ever encountered one here before. The Admiral (which, according to the Wiki, was originally called the Red Admirable) was very busy and would not sit still, so I never did get the full wings shot I was after, before it lifted up and disappeared over some tall trees growing the little gully that leads down to Day Brook Pond. I glimpsed it once more flying high on my way back. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos and assembled in FrameMagic. ISO 200-250 @ f4 @ 1/500th.
American Lady Butterfly: Kennebunk Plains Preserve, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — It is short aster season on the Kennebunk Plains here in Southern Maine, with at least 3 species of small asters in bloom, and large areas heavily carpeted. I found several fairly fresh looking American Ladies working a stand in the sun. They did not want to sit still for photography but I did my best. 🙂 Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos and assembled in FrameMagic. ISO 100 @ f4 @ 1/1000th, 1/1000th, 1/640th, and 1/800th.
When I visit the Wells Estuarine Research Reserve at Laudholm Farms in Wells, Maine, I park my trike on the grass beside the bike rack beyond the Handicapped Parking signs. As I passed carefully between the signs yesterday there was a nice fresh Monarch chrysalis hanging, right at my eye level on the trike, from the underside of one of the signs. Too good an opportunity to miss, and before I road away after my hike, I set my iPhone up with the Sirui 10x Macor lens and took a number of shots. It is a fascinating structure, and there were still water drops on it from the rain overnight. Altogether a thing of beauty. It is a rather exposed spot and I can only hope it survives to be a butterfly. iPhone SE with Moment thin case and Sirui 10x Macro lens. Standard Apple Camera app with Smart HDR engaged. Processed Apple Photos.
Monarch Butterfly, Muskrat Pond, Medomak, Maine, USA — It is the season of the Monarch in Maine, whether I am in Kennebunk around home, or, apparently, further north in Medomak. There are large stands of goldenrod and the invasive Himalayan Balsam between the road and the edge of Muskrat Pond, and the Monarchs were working it on the overcast morning we visited. The color contrasts make the shot. Just another Monarch? Perhaps not in this setting. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. ISO 125 @ f4 @ 1/500th.
Monarchs and Northern Blazing Star, Laudholm Farms, Wells, Maine, USA — I stopped by the National Estuarine Research Reserve at Laudholm Farms the other day while out on my eTrike. The staff have planted a native species garden near the entry kiosk and they have a few Northern Blazing Star plants which are exceptionally tall and full, probably because they get watered every day. They are attracting Monarchs. (They also have a field of Milkweed down below the farm buildings so they are working both ends of the Monarch cycle 🙂 Because there was only the one stand of Blazing Star there was a lot of interaction between the Monarchs…that swirling chase they do…and they were often on two sides of the same plant…making for a great photo op. Nikon B700 at ~ 1125mm equivalent. Program mode with some custom tweaks for birds and wildlife. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. ISO 100 @ f5.6 @ 1/250th.
Wood Nympth on Northern Blazing Star, Kennebunk Plains Preserve, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — By far the most numerous butterfly on the Kennebunk Plains during August and Northern Blazing Star season is the Wood Nympth…but then the Wood Nympth is probably the most numerous butterfly in southern Maine all summer. They come out early in spring and are present well into fall, and always in good numbers. This year, as in most creatures in southern Maine, seems to be bumper year. There were hundreds of them in the Blazing Star. They are not the most attractive of butterflies, but it appears to be working for them. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. ISO 100 @ f4 @ 1/500th.
Clouded Sulphur: Kennebunk Plains Preserve, Maine, USA — Monarchs are not the only butterflies to be happy to see the Northern Blazing Star in bloom. While there were not as many Clouded Sulphurs as Monarchs, there were still good numbers, and the numbers will increase as the full bloom comes on. Nikon B700 at 1440mm equivalent. Program mode. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
Monarch Butterfly: Kennebunk Plains Preserve, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — More of the Monarchs among the early Northern Blazing Star on the Kennebunk Plains. A study in color contrasts. Nikon B700 at 1440mm equivalent. Program mode. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
Monarch Butterfly on Northern Blazing Star: Kennebunk Plains Preserve, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — The first early blooms of Northern Blazing Star are just opening right now. It looks like a very good year for Blazing Star on the Kennebunk Plains as there dense stands of plants about to bloom over wide areas of the plains. Already the insects are gathering. I saw more Monarchs than I have seen in several years yesterday, even in my short hike through one section, as well as a couple of Cloudy Sulphurs and Wood Nymphs, hundreds of Bumble Bees and wasps, and some very large and very loud hornet like things. The Monarchs, in particular, are beautiful feeding on the Blazing Star. For those who don’t know, Blazing Star is a threatened and protected species across most of its historical range, and here in Maine. The Kennebunk Plains are managed, in part, for Blazing Star. I leave on Monday for a week in New Mexico and I hope the full bloom is still going on when I return. Blazing Star and the insects it attracts in August always make for one of my favorites times of year on the Plains. Nikon B700 at 610mm equivalent. Program mode. Spot focus. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.