Butterflies and Bugs

Milkweed is beginning to bloom, and that means butterflies and bugs! I’ve got another favorite spot for this – this one near Crater Lake. It’s a dirt road too, and not a lot of traffic early in the morning. The nice thing is that the milkweed is along the road, so I don’t have to wade through tick-infested grass to get to it.

great spangled fritillary

The butterflies were very cooperative, and though I didn’t have a tripod, I actually managed a couple of fairly clear shots. This great spangled fritillary was much easier to photograph than the monarchs that were everywhere, but would not sit still for a photo.

gray hairstreak

There were lots of hairstreaks too, often sharing the same flower-heads as the fritillaries and monarchs. The beetle and bug variety was amazing, but I could not seem to get a clear shot of any of them, as I didn’t have a good macro. But my son Rob does, and he came along with me this morning specifically to get some good bug shots. I know he got a really good close-up of a grasshopper, so I’ll share it here when he sends it to me.

monarchcat1

The real stars were the outlandish monarch caterpillars. Some of the plants had half-a-dozen caterpillars on them, while others had none (and no visible eggs, either). We are going to keep checking this patch of milkweed, hoping to watch the miraculous change from zebra-worm to butterfly.

monarchcat2

monarchcat3

There were lots of other good bugs around, but I have no idea what they were, and it made me realize how “rusty” my identification skills had become. When I was a kid and spent every minute out in the field, I knew the names of all the local wildflowers and bugs and butterflies. Now, not so much. I’m still pretty good with the more common wildflowers, and every so often I’ll remember the name of something I see, but clearly I need to refresh my memory. What fun that will be – and a good excuse to get out more. Like I need one. Life is good.

10 Responses to “Butterflies and Bugs”

  1. mon@rch Says:

    The hairstreaks are hard to photograph and I just love when the milkweeds start flowering!

  2. KGMom Says:

    I love seeing these caterpillars that turn into glorious butterflies.
    I wonder–is there a correlation between caterpillars stripes and eventual butterfly appearance?

  3. Laura Says:

    Those look about ready to go, Laura – better keep a close eye!

    I’ve been checking my patch of swamp milkweed every day almost – every so often I find an egg, but never any caterpillars.

    Does it seem to you like common milkweed is a more popular host plant than swamp milkweed? Seems that way to me, but maybe the cats are just easier to spot on the common variety.

  4. Nina Says:

    THANKS for the monarchs-to-be! I’ve been madly searching, and not found a single one. I hope their next cycle will finally find me. A invitation to hungry caterpilars: you’ll have a feast, if you visit here!

  5. erie's argonaut Says:

    I love your pictures of the caterpillars and butterflies. I love watching the life cycle of the Monarch butterfly. It is just so fascinating.

  6. obi4240 Says:

    Monarch – milkweeds may be common, but they sure are pretty bug magnets!

    KGMOM – You know, I just don’t know that much about insects, and I was wondering along those lines myself. What makes them change from green, black and white to orange and black?

    Laura – I’m not really sure, but we always find great bugs on common milkweed!

    Nina – if I see any wandering around, I’ll tell them about your offer…

    Erie’s – thanks. I’m in total agreement with you.

  7. » Butterfly Facts Butterfly Facts Says:

    […] Butterflies and Bugs « Natural Notes – Milkweed is beginning to bloom, and that means butterflies and bugs! I’ve got another favorite spot for this – this one near Crater Lake. It’s a dirt road too, and not a lot of traffic early in the morning. The nice thing is that the … […]

  8. » lllllllllllll Butterfly Facts Says:

    […] Butterflies and Bugs « Natural Notes – Milkweed is beginning to bloom, and that means butterflies and bugs! I’ve got another favorite spot for this – this one near Crater Lake. It’s a dirt road too, and not a lot of traffic early in the morning. The nice thing is that the … […]

  9. » Butterfly Drawings Butterfly Facts Says:

    […] Butterflies and Bugs « Natural Notes – Milkweed is beginning to bloom, and that means butterflies and bugs! I’ve got another favorite spot for this – this one near Crater Lake. It’s a dirt road too, and not a lot of traffic early in the morning. The nice thing is that the … […]

  10. » Total Links Says:

    […] Butterflies and Bugs « Natural Notes – Milkweed is beginning to bloom, and that means butterflies and bugs! I’ve got another favorite spot for this – this one near Crater Lake. It’s a dirt road too, and not a lot of traffic early in the morning. The nice thing is that the … […]


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