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Monarch Butterfly

I returned to Pedernales Falls State Park with a friend of mine to photograph Painted Buntings. They are only in this part of Texas a short time so they will soon be gone. Unfortunately, I saw a few but was not lucky enough to photograph one. They are very skittish and fly off very quickly. I spotted a bunch of Monarch Butterflies on some Milkweed flowers and decided to try photographing them. The photograph below is the best result of the bunch.

The Monarch Butterfly or simply Monarch (Danaus plexippus) is a Milkweed Butterfly. Literally millions of these butterflies from eastern and central north America migrate to spend the winter in mountain forests of central Mexico. In early spring they begin to move north and pause to breed. Their offspring continues north and also pause to breed. By summer the next generation has populated much of the continent. The last brood of the summer begins to move south forming large concentrations at some coastal and lakeside points, eventually arriving in central Mexico where the process begins all over again. So, the next time you see a bunch of Monarch Butterflies, you will know their complete cycle.

Monarch Butterfly
Monarch Butterfly

This image was taken with my Canon EOS 5DS using my Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 II Lens set on 400mm. The camera was set on Aperture priority mode with the aperture set at f/5.6, shutter speed at 1/500th of a second and the ISO set at 100. This is a single photograph processed in Lightroom and Nik Color Efex Pro.

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T. Kahler Photography
© 2016 T. Kahler Photography

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6 thoughts on “Monarch Butterfly”

  1. We haven’t been seeing Monarchs for a few years now up here in Western Massachusetts. Such a formerly “common” butterfly is now a cause for excitement as we hold our breath hoping for a rebound in their numbers. I’ve got a nice bunch of milkweed that we allow to grow along our driveway and hope that will bring in one or two and we get some larvae as a result.
    Nice isolation and perpendicular focus.

  2. Hi, Terry! That’s actually a Queen butterfly, which is a cousin of the Monarch. They look similar with their wings folded, but not at all similar when their wings are open. They’re also a little smaller and slightly darker than the Monarchs. They don’t migrate, so Texas has tons of them during the summer. They’re misidentified all the time!

    1. Thank you Linda. I was using my Kaufman field guide and I was thinking it was a Queen but I did not have the inside view so I guessed Monarch. I didn’t even think about the color difference. I can see that now. Thanks for the clarification. I learn something new today! :)

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