Tag Archive | butterflies

Autumn Curtailed

Owing to a painful case of shin splints (or possible stress fracture) which has seriously curtailed my walking activities for the past few weeks, I have not been able to get out and about to enjoy the Autumn season as much as I would have liked. However, the weather in October was really not that great and looking back at the last trip I made to the Chicago Botanic Garden, it was probably one of the few really nice days that we have had recently so I’m glad I was able to at least capture some of the Fall colors before I was reduced to hobbling around on crutches.

I was able to get a good view of what looked like a young heron (his feathers still seem rather downy) from the bridge. I hope he hasn’t left it too late to start heading south for the winter.

This was the scene outside our back door recently so I think we’ve seen the last of the warm, sunny days of autumn in the garden.

Winding Down

Things are winding down now in our garden and this is when most of the hard work begins. There are still a few flowers about, although most of the plants and shrubs have been trimmed, thinned or eliminated altogether depending on how well they’ve done this year.

The rabbits have stuffed themselves to bursting point on whatever they could get hold of, including the bird seed and my best lilies.

The birds are on the move and making their way south so we are seeing some different species from the usual sparrows.  This one showed up last week. It was fairly small with a distinctive yellow rump. Not sure what it is so if anyone has any ideas I’d be happy to hear from you.

The cosmos and marigold flowers are particularly colorful right now and are attracting the last few butterflies. There are still a lot of bees buzzing about too, which leads me to an ideal opportunity to give my grandson’s podcast God of Honeybees a plug. The latest episode is about the study of consciousness. Interesting stuff so I hope you’ll give it a listen.

Butterflies, Flowers And Hummingbirds – Eeeeek!

The weather was perfect for a walk around the Chicago Botanic Garden on the first full day of autumn this week. The air was alive with bees, dragonflies and hummingbirds and there were butterflies everywhere!

 

I can never walk past the water lilies without taking a few shots even though I have so many of them in the photo files already.

There was an absolute cloud of dragonflies darting about in the rose garden but, for as long as I stood there and waited, I never saw one land so I had to be content with taking pictures of the roses.

As I was walking through the English walled garden, I overheard one of the gardeners telling a tour group that it has been almost 30 years since this particular section of the Garden was opened. Wow! Has it been that long? I remember Mum and I visiting the Garden the day after Princess Margaret attended the dedication ceremony in 1991.  It was always one of our favorite areas in the Garden. According to what I was hearing, it is due for some serious renovations so I imagine it will be inaccessible for a while, in the not-too-distant future.

As usual, the Circle Garden had a splendid array of flowers and I was surprised to see some kind of giant magnolia in bloom.

And then there were the hummingbirds. The Garden apparently knows just what the hummingbirds like. I’ve never seen so many in once place before! Everywhere in the garden they were flitting about, racing from flower to flower. The giant blue sage seemed to be favorite.

This abundance of hummingbirds was great in one respect but rather unnerving in another. Those of you who have read some of my previous posts will know that I am terrified of birds, especially small ones that do a lot of fluttering. I really had to steel myself to stand still while they flashed past me and several times I let out a shriek as they zoomed by.  For a while, I was standing next to someone who appeared to be a professional photographer (he had all the fancy gear and looked like he knew what he was doing with it.)  We got talking and I explained that I was getting rather aggravated with my camera as it seemed to be focusing on everything but the hummingbirds.  He offered some words of encouragement, pointing out the birds that were resting on a nearby branch and therefore easier to capture.

I have to give this man credit. He was very patient with me, especially after I had explained to him about my fear of birds (he must have wondered why I kept inadvertently screaming) and when, after I told him that I didn’t think I could handle any more fluttering and would quit while I was ahead, he even offered to escort me to the end of the path to make sure I was alright. If by any small chance you are reading this, sir, I would like to offer my most sincere thanks. Not too many people understand how debilitating these phobias can be (I was almost on the point of collapse by this time.) I didn’t want to take up any more of his time, however, and made a run for it, dodging more of these little flying gems as I went.  Eeeeek!

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Magical

Well, here at least is one piece of good timing.  I was about to post this and then saw Ann-Christine’s choice of subject for this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge which is Magical. So this is my take on that topic.   I’ve lost count of the number of swallowtail butterflies that we’ve raised and released over the years but in all that time I’ve never yet found a monarch caterpillar until now. I spotted it a week or so ago on the orange butterfly weed in our garden and brought it inside so that I could observe the changes from caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly, a process that is truly magical.

The other evening it looked as though it was about ready to make the first change and I sat and watched it for several hours but nothing happened. I got up early (for me) next morning and it was still hanging from the same stem, going through what looked like a few mild calisthenics and gyrations, sending little ripples of movement along the length of its body.

Again, I sat for several hours with camera at the ready as I wanted to record the moments when he finally shrugged and wriggled his way out of his brightly-striped skin. But I had to get up and move around eventually, and I thought I would just nip into the next room to check my emails. I swear I was gone for no more than ten minutes! And when I came hurrying back it was to find that the little stinker had done his magic and as I gazed at the chrysalis that now hung from the stem, I thought I could hear a faint raspberry being blown and a whispered, “Missed it! coming from inside.  Unbelievable!!

July Blues – Flutterbies

Butterflies at the Chicago Botanic Garden are my second entry for the July Blues squares. Still trying to catch up with posts and emails.  Our youngest grandson is visiting this week so posts and replies may be a bit sporadic but I will get to them all eventually. I am, however, making every effort to keep up with all the excellent blogs that I follow on WordPress.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Butterfly Kisses

This week, Amy has chosen something Unique as the subject for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. Yesterday I spent a couple of hours with the butterflies at the Chicago Botanic Gardens and, rather like snowflakes, it seems as though every one is slightly different.  And they feel like snowflakes too, whispering past my arms and neck, giving me those butterfly kisses just like my mother used to brush against my cheeks with her eyelashes when I was a child.

And there is definitely some butterfly hanky panky going on in here. What I at first take to be one very large, oddly-shaped butterfly turns out to be two having a good time in the afternoon sun. And there are more of them at it a little further along the path.

I wonder if it’s the rotting fruit that is driving them sex mad? There seems to be a constant flow of visitors to these colorful trays of tempting delicacies, including a butterfly that looks strangely like an autumn leaf.

Whatever the reason, the butterflies are extremely active, the air is full of them fluttering around. It’s a strange thing but although moths usually send me running for the exits or screaming for assistance in the house, butterflies are welcome to land on my shoulder or, like this one, catch a ride on my camera bag.

Each one of these little gems is a unique creation of nature, living a brief, gaudy life, distributing butterfly kisses and filling the hearts of young and old alike, with joy.