Thursday, February 18, 2010

Treasure hunt ...

The butterflies are blooming again over at the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park ~ but the exhibit doesn't officially open until March 1. I've been seeing preview pictures of the butterflies in the newspaper and wondered if people were allowed to visit before the actual opening date. So I called my friend, Judy, and she assured me that, yes, even though there wouldn't be the optimal NUMBER of butterflies, there at least would be LESS people looking at them.
So yesterday, I spent an exceedingly happy almost three hours just wandering the place. The tropical conservatory is kept at a real balmy temperature, so I was deeply and immediately appreciative of actual HEAT and HUMIDITY ... it's like a sauna in there! Wonderful!
And I got to see the elusive Clearwing! I went to the exhibit in 2008 and 2009 (twice each year) hoping to see one, but I never did ... so I was really excited to see one up close and personal.
Isn't he cool?
The flowers and plants that are EVERYWHERE just about take my breath away. I can't get enough of them. I am always stunned at the depth of beauty that God has created.
This is the Common Morpho that absolutely WOULD NOT open for me. On the inside, he is the bluest blue you can imagine. Back in 2008, I was able to catch one off guard when its wings were open ... so I didn't begrudge this one's refusal to comply with my wishes.
There were not many folk visiting the butterflies yesterday. This was good because it gave me a lot of freedom to just hang out and go looking for as many kinds of butterflies possible. There were a few other people with amazing photographic equipment, unbelievably large lenses, and we were all kind of on a treasure hunt! It was very fun. When one of us would find a cool moth or butterfly, we would show it to the others (after FIRST taking all of the pictures we wanted).

I think this Blue Clipper, a brush-footed moth (Asia) was the prettiest one of the day. It was hiding way under the leaves of this plant. I was so excited when I parted a few leaves and there he was! So I snapped four pictures of him and then he took off ... before I could share him with anyone else!

And can you see what's hiding behind these orchids? (I think they are orchids!) I'm having a difficult time identifying him. I used my zoom to get this photo, all 10x of it, because I wasn't able to get any closer to him ... he was way back by the wall and they don't allow you to just walk off the pathways and climb over stuff (like I would normally do) at Meijer Gardens ... after all, it would be rather chaotic if everyone who wanted a good picture just violated all of the rules. I can't tell you how hard it was for me to behave myself!

I think this is a Great Mormon swallowtail ... you can't believe how BIG this guy was! It flew around forever before it landed on this plant ... and really, it was as big as a bird!

I had never seen a butterfly like the one above. And since they didn't have their literature ready to hand out, I am using last year's identifying booklet and can't seem to find him!

And I think this is just a regular Postman from Central/South America. I have tons of pictures of these Postman butterflies from the last few years, but this one was posing so nicely I just went ahead and snapped his picture.

All creatures of our God and King
lift up your voice and with us sing ~
Alleluia! Alleluia!

Let all things their Creator bless
and worship Him in humbleness.
O praise Him! Alleluia!
Praise praise the Father, praise the Son!
And praise the Spirit, three in One ...
Oh, praise Him!
(St. Francis of Assisi)

How many are your works, O LORD!
In wisdom you made them all ...
PSALM 104.24

No comments: