After so many monarch sightings yesterday afternoon and evening I decided I’d go out purposely seeking them in the hopes of taking better photographs with my Canon camera. It was an absolutely beautiful day today and I was lucky enough to get some extra time with Jaycie while her father and sister went shopping for her birthday presents. When I’d finished my work inside, we went outside so she could swing and I could do some butterfly chasing.
Yesterday I saw the monarch flying around the farmer’s field behind my house so I started walking that direction, camera in hand. A monarch fluttered by and flew into the hedgerow so I changed course and looked for it among the bushes there. I couldn’t see it but as I was looking I heard the cry of a hawk from the southern sky. Instantly curious, I stepped away from the hedgerow until I had a full view of the sky and to my delight, there was a pair of hawks flying across the field from east to west. They were so far away my zoom didn’t do them justice but I did get them both in the same photo.
Once the hawks had disappeared over the treetops to the west, I returned my attention to the field and was immediately greeted by the sight of a monarch butterfly flying about. I snapped a couple pictures hoping I got him in the frame since it was impossible to see the viewfinder in the bright sunlight. Happily, I got a couple shots of him/her in flight.
As I watched the single monarch, another monarch appeared and the two were quickly involved in an aerial battle/mating flight which I tried to capture in pictures.
As I’m not a monarch butterfly, I can’t tell male and female so I didn’t know if it was a battle between two males or a mating flight between a male and female. After the aerial display they both took a rest in the field about five feet away from each other.
I walked back to where Jaycie was swinging and sat in my comfortable, cushioned bench for a while admiring the blue sky and puffy clouds floating slowly across the horizon. I asked Jaycie if she wanted to go see the monarchs since she’d done a report on them for school and she said she did. Back we walked and we saw one of the monarchs flying around when we were about three feet from the edge of the field.
I told Jaycie there was a second monarch somewhere out there and started to walk into the field to see if I could flush it out for her to see. I did find both monarchs but once I saw what they were doing I decided that coaxing them into flight wouldn’t be very nice. The moment I saw them I knew they were a male and a female as they sat on a thick green leaf, back to back, engaged in mating.
I turned back toward Jaycie to ask if she saw them but she was already halfway back to the swings. I don’t think she actually saw them, I think she got bored watching mommy take pictures and went back to doing fun things. I can honestly say I’d never seen butterflies mating until today but I found it quite beautiful as they slowly opened and closed their wings, sitting peacefully on the leaf.
Feeling I’d intruded enough, I left them to their affair and rejoined Jaycie at the swings. I had no idea chasing butterflies was going to be such a learning experience! Amazing what you can discover when you stop the hectic pace of life and admire the wonder of the world around us.