August Critters


Taken Up

Every blade in the field, every leaf in the forest,
lays down its life in its season, as beautifully as it was taken up.
— Henry David Thoreau

Early this morning I visited Stroud Preserve, a frequent place to visit and immerse in nature, and a respite of mine for many years. Zach liked it there too. I captured this photo of a lone Monarch butterfly, its wing a bit tattered, but still keepin’ on. The butterfly as you may know has some very powerful symbolism to life, and death. I thought of how Zach managed for many years with a tattered wing, but kept on, until he no longer could. Or rather, the addiction left him unable to fly any longer. The Thoreau quote is from the guest book of Zach’s memorial service. I wept when I read it today. Hugs and love to all of those who walk this path.

Of Butterflies and Birds (and flowers, too)

Nature and its flora and fauna are astoundingly amazing, and I have mad respect for its existence and preservation. And while I can oogle at Nat Geo, or a myriad of other online resources to see amazing nature photography, I love being behind the lens in capturing a growing collection of both the known and new animals and plants who’ve stood (well…. crouched, flown, crawled, swayed, hopped,  etc) before me.

I try to spend at least once a week out and about, both to polish up my hobby skills, and to continue to get to know my new camera and big ol’ zoom lens. But even more so, because it certainly is a great way to decompress and sooth body/mind/soul. I value that above all.

Yesterday morning October rolled in, a brisk 48 degrees as I headed to one of my fav local gardens… First up: Monarch Butterflies! All the ones I saw today (and any that you all see, if you live west of the Rocky Mountains), will migrate to Mexico and overwinter/ hibernate in Oyamel Fir trees! The monarch is the only butterfly known to make a two-way migration as birds do, traveling up to 3,000 miles to get to their winter home. And of course, they are an invaluable pollinator. Super cool and beautiful insect!

While the east coast finds itself home year round to many normally migratory birds who live further inland, I still never really know if a bird like the Grey Catbird is that year-rounder. Here in the Philadelphia area, we are sketchy as being considered fully part of that coastal population. Alas, I’ve not seen the Catbirds around my home, but did in fact see several on this visit. They are berry eaters, and the tree I discovered them eating from (still need to determine the variety!) allowed me some nice shots.

Last up, the Blue-headed Vireo, a small cheeky songbird – also migrating thru on its way to the Gulf coast or Mexico.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Structure

This week’s photo challenge pretty much fell into my lap this morning, as I ventured out to my local fantastic gardens, nearby Longwood. The sprawling ~100 acre meadow garden is only a fraction of the entire gardens, but the most dynamic from having a very unique ecological design and most excellent connection with nature.

This morning was a butterfly kind of  morning. Granted, now’s the time when Monarch Butterflies make an astounding migration trek to Mexico for the winter. So, as I see them flutter by, I can wish them safe travels south!

For The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge, Structure.