One of our county parks is a 300-acre working farm that’s been in agricultural use for three centuries. In addition to barns, pastures, and lots of farm animals, it also has a butterfly house that’s open only during the summer. It’s sort of a yurt-shaped building consisting of wood-framed panels covered in mesh screen. Inside are a small koi pond and lots of flowers—and lots of butterflies.

The butterfly house recently closed for the season, and Jan, Sylvia, and I visited it on the day they were tagging monarchs before sending them on their 3000-mile migration to Mexico. (Sylvia got to tag and release a butterfly, which was very exciting for her.) We got to walk around inside the structure, and although I don’t have a macro lens I did manage to take a few photos that turned out all right.





12 Responses to “Butterflies”

  1. Imperatrixon 24 Sep 2008 at 8:41 am

    Turned out alright? These are *lovely* shots!

    I’ve been noticing lots and lots of butterflies in the past month — I hadn’t realized it while we were there, but New England is too cold (even in summer) and forest is too thick for many butterflies.

    But here — they are everywhere!

  2. Katie Jon 24 Sep 2008 at 9:17 am

    Excuse me? Alright? Ahem…they are lovely. Thanks for sharing with us. Please share more “alright” pictures with us, ok?

  3. MACon 24 Sep 2008 at 9:48 am

    Very nice results. The first image makes great use of the rule of thirds. What kind of camera are you using?

  4. Marshaon 24 Sep 2008 at 9:52 am

    Ah gosh, thanks, everyone!

    I’m using an Olympus Evolt E-300 digital SLR. I LURVE this camera!

  5. Chrison 24 Sep 2008 at 12:54 pm

    Very cool! Your pictures are gorgeous. Of course, I particularly love that purple butterfly. :)

  6. MACon 24 Sep 2008 at 2:52 pm

    Maggie likes the purple butterfly best, too. She says, “Thank you!”

  7. Kellion 24 Sep 2008 at 3:49 pm

    What fun!

  8. Pixieon 24 Sep 2008 at 8:22 pm

    I want to hear more about how to tag a butterfly? Do you tie a teeny tiny little tag to their little leg?


  9. Deborahon 25 Sep 2008 at 5:10 am

    Beautiful! Great pictures to my eye. So, how does a butterfly become tagged? Spraypainted maybe?

  10. PShortenon 25 Sep 2008 at 12:33 pm

    I can’t believe you didn’t tell me about this cool photo op – next year you gotta let me know! These photos are great.

    I’m trying to picture the teeny tiny little tags too….

  11. Marshaon 25 Sep 2008 at 2:59 pm

    You tag butterflies by putting tiny round stickers on them (see here: Each sticker has a unique number, which is put down on a log sheet along with that butterfly’s sex and release date.

    The park staff did all the butterfly holding. If you touch butterfly wings with your fingers, you end up removing lots of the scales on the wings–and those never grow back. So there’s a special way to hold the butterflies to avoid harming them.

    After Sylvia put the sticker on the butterfly’s wing (with lots of guidance from the park staff person), she went outside, and the staff person put the butterfly on her hand so it was standing. And then it flew away. Each little kid got to do this, and they really enjoying being able to “let the buterflies go.”

  12. bethon 28 Sep 2008 at 6:15 pm

    gorgeous photos. i especially like the monarchs with the chrysalis