Another Monarch for Mary Ellen!

3 09 2010

This one is for Mary Ellen Ryall, creator of the Monarch Butterfly Habitat in Shell Lake, Wisconsin! I photographed this Monarch butterfly on a ‘Zowie’ Zinnia at Green Spring Gardens this afternoon. An overcast but very bright sky made for great lighting for photography. The gardens were swarming with insects—including Eastern Tiger Swallowtails, Spicebush Swallowtails, Monarchs, various Skippers, Sulphurs and Common Buckeyes. I photographed an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail on a ‘Zowie’ Zinnia  few weeks ago here.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

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Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

30 07 2010

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens’ “Experimental Meadow” was full of Eastern Tiger Swallowtails, Spicebush Swallowtails (click here to see the incredible caterpillar that this particular butterfly morphs from), American Painted Lady Butterflies, Silver-spotted Skippers, and Cabbage White Butterflies today.

Mary Ellen—no sighting of Monarchs at this garden today, unfortunately. I have seen a few in my garden this summer. In 1999 Mary Ellen founded Happy Tonics, Inc., a nonprofit 501(c)(3) environmental education organization and public charity. Happy Tonics also created the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary in Shell Lake, Wisconsin, a few years ago. I met Mary Ellen when I purchased milkweed seed from her eBay store and we have collaborated on design and environmental projects ever since!

GREAT PHOTO TIP! Here’s a butterfly photography trick I learned from Mary Ellen a few years ago. Wait until the butterfly has it proboscis inserted into a flower and it becomes completely distracted by the task at hand—then move in closer, staying as still as possible.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.