Red Admiral Butterfly at Frank Melville Park

Monday, August 6, 2018,

This is a Red Admiral Butterfly. I didn’t know that when I took this photo. I’ve seen these beauties before but I never knew what it was till I was able to compare this pic to one of my field guides. I have dozens of field guides but only two of them concern butterflies specifically. As chance would have it, this particular butterfly graces the covers of both of them. Some folks must like this guy. I do.  JK

Another Good Year For Monarchs

Wednesday, July 25, 2018,

Monarch butterflies are in trouble. Many of you probably already know this but, perhaps, there are some of you who don’t. Monarch butterfly populations have been shrinking for a couple of decades. Loss of habitat appears to be a major contributing factor but it is by no means the only reason. Monarchs depend on Milkweed plants for both their sustenance and as nurseries for raising their young. And Milkweed is in decline across North America. There are several reasons for that, most of them related to human activities. But let’s not get bogged down with bad news. I want to talk about good news today.

The good news is that there are still places where Monarch butterflies can be found and in decent numbers. Last year, I saw more Monarchs than I had seen in a decade. Many of my friends noticed the same thing. These beautiful butterflies weren’t found everywhere but there were locations where they were very near plentiful. Avalon Park and Preserve was one of those places. The main reason for this is that Avalon has many, many Milkweed plants. Those are Milkweed flowers that the Monarchs in these photos are perched upon. And now, some more good news: This year is shaping up to be an even better year for Monarch butterflies than last year. As I walk along the open fields at Avalon I see more and more of these glorious insects. I think it’s going to be another banner year for both the Monarchs and my camera. JK

November Mantis

Friday, November 17, 2017,

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This was the first, and very likely the last, Praying Mantis I saw all year. I had pretty much given up the hope of photographing one this season when I found this lady beside the handle of our screen door. I didn’t take her picture because I like my shots to look like they were taken “in nature”. She camped out there for four days, long enough for us to expect her to greet us when we came home. Then, one afternoon when I arrived home she wasn’t there. I searched and I searched, and there she was, in the leaf litter to the side of the doorway. And then I was able to get my “in nature” shot. Thank you Ms. Mantis. JK