Monday, December 22, 2008

My World: Buttterfly Magic

Though they look like Christmas tree ornaments, these are the chrysalises in the emergence room at Tucson Botanical Gardens. My Mother loves Butterflies, so when she learned that Butterfly Magic is going on right now we made our plans to visit.

Butterfly magic runs from Nov 1, 2008 through March 2009. The butterflies of Australia are on display for the month of December. We pay our admission fee and walk through shady paths to the greenhouse where the butterflies fly free.

A volunteer at the doorway explains the rules to us before we enter the building. She tells us the butterflies may land on us but we are not to chase them or to touch them. We are warned to watch out for butterflies landing on the paths and if we see one, to tell a volunteer, so it can be removed before it gets stepped on. Then she opens the first door and closes it tightly before letting us in through a shredded plastic curtain that helps to keep butterflies safely inside the moist warmth of their temporary home.

As soon as we enter the small building we see butterflies. I hurry to start snapping photos, then realize I will have to wait for my camera to adjust to the temperature and humidity as the lens and eyepiece fog up. I wipe frantically and try to focus but it would have been better just to wait it out, for it does no good. Finally I can see and I snap off several pictures of this beautiful Peacock Swallowtail.

Then a Paper Kite lands nearby revealing the startling beauty of its simple black and white pattern.

Fluttering about us in constant blue motion are several Blue Morphos. Can you find them in the above photo? They seldom land and when they do, they seldom land with their wings open.

This is a blue morpho with folded wings.

Here is one with its wings fluttering open. They never stay still so the photo is a bit blurry.

In the next frame the wings are closed again, but you can still see a hint of the blue for which they are named.

1.Common Eggfly from Malaysia or the Phillipines

I am by no means a butterfly expect, so I am depending on Doug, from Gossamer Tapestry, Gallicissa, Troy of Ramblings Around Texas, Nina of Nature Remains, Ann of Nature Tales and Camera Trails, or any other Australian Butterfly Experts out there to tell me the names of the rest of these. I've numbered the photos and will fill the answers in as they arrive. If you don't know their names, you can still choose a favorite. I honestly can't decide which one I like best, but the Peacock Swallowtail is at the top of my list!

2. Cattleheart from Central or South America

3. Ruby-spotted Swallowtail from Central or South America

4. Blue Clipper

5. Crimsom Rose

6. Owl spot

7. Owl Spot open

8. Chocolate Pansy from Malaysia

This butterfly landed on the strap of a little girl's pocketbook. She had on a bright red skirt and the butterflies kept landing on her skirt and blouse. She kindly let me take this picture (with her mother's permission of course!)

9. (possible)Lurcher from Australia

10. Scarlet Mormon

11. Helena Birdwing from Malaysia

This large butterfly was clinging to the metal girders that form the walls of the green house.

12. Cruiser from Malaysia

13. Common Tiger from Malasia

14. Malachite from Florida and/or Central/South America

15.Sara Longwing from Central/South America

Many thanks to Doug Taron from Gossemer Tapestry for identifying these butterflies for me. All names in blue are his ID's

Believe it or not, there were even more, and Tucson Botanical Gardens offers a Special Session just for Photographers, but I had no problem photographing these with my Nikon D80 and 70 to 300 mm lens hand held. I'm sure even better photos could be achieved with a macro lens and a tripod but I'm kind of like the Blue Morpho-always on the move.

The heat and humidity finally drove us outside, so comeback tomorrow to read more about Tucson Botanical Gardens, which has so much more to offer. Then, we had lunch at the Old pueblo Grille. What a scrumptious and pretty place to dine! (Wait till you see what we had for desert!)


abb said...

What a wonderful post about your world. Wish I lived close enough to visit the gardens. They look magnificent!

bobbie said...

This place must be heaven! How I would love to visit there!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful butterflies Kathie, great photos Thanks

SaraG said...

WOW, what a great post and awesome photo's. Especially love the very first one!! WOW.
Take care and thanks for sharing
Happy Holidays

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

Oh, my! They're like Christmas tree ornaments!

I like the Scarlet Mormon best.

Anonymous said...

Wonderul documentation of your visit. I love visiting butterfly habitats, or exhibits too.

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Kathie: Wonderful captures of the butterflies in the special rooms. I went into one of these in Colubus Ohio but had no camera.

Deborah Godin said...

Oh, if I lived near there I'd be haning out all the time!! What a joy to see this post!

Jane Hards Photography said...

Spectacular images of the whole varying stages of life.
Yu can only marvel at nature when you witness something like this.

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

Great photographs. We attended a similar type event at the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, TX last summer and loved it.

Anonymous said...

There looks to be so much to explore and take in this world of butterflies. Nicely captured and displayed for us to learn from.

Happy Holidays...

The Good Life in Virginia said...

what a fantastic post...enjoyed each and every photo of the butterflies...each more beautiful than the next.
thanks for sharing with us.
happy holidays from central virginia.

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

Thank-you for allowing me to come along on yopur walk through the Butterfly Garden.What a spectacular place this must be!

gina said...

oh i love these! i have a photo of a paper kite and never knew it's name! :) and i first saw the blue morphs in mexico...i think they are the most beautiful blue. wonderful job! thanks. :)

Gaelyn said...

They are all absolutely amazing!
I like what I can see of #14 the best. Can't wait to see more.
It's way too cold here to have butterflies.

kayleen said...

They are all beautiful. I'm amazed at your sucess with a 70-300lens. I'm never pleased with any I photograph with my 70-300. Wonder if that's a difference in a Nikon and a Canon. Hope you have an enjoyable holiday season.

Doug Taron said...

Lovely photos. They are from all over the world, but almost none of the ones that you posted are from Australia. Here is what you have:

1. Common eggfly from Malaysia or the Philippines.
2. Cattleheart from Central or South America
3.Ruby-spotted Swallowtail from Central or South America
4. Correctly IDed as a Clipper
5. Crimson Rose
6+7. Correctly IDed as owl butterflies
8.Chocolatee Pansy from Malaysia
9. This my be the Lurcher. If so, this one is from Australia.
10. This one is the first scarlet Mormon
11. Helena Birdwaing from Malaysia
12. Cruiser from Malaysia
13. Common Tiger from Malaysia
14. Malachite from Florida or central/South America
15. Sara Longwing from Central or South America.

Arija said...

What a wonderful Butterfly exhibit to be able to visit. I have photographed some of our tropical butterflies in Queensland, but my butterfly book is still a closed book to me. Slight limits on time.
Have a Happy Christmas!

Ruth said...

I have visited the butterfly conservatory at Niagara Falls, Ontario a couple of times. The heat and humidity would keep me indoors today. Beautiful set of pictures. Those chrysalises look almost like those of the Monarch butterfly.

Anonymous said...

Wow - what fun. Nice that your mom could be there at the right time to enjoy it.

Larry said...

That's great that you wereable to get all of those nice photos.There is a place like that up in Mass that lets you take photos but they don't want you to use their name in a post.