Monday, April 6, 2015

Photographs from Butterflies In Bloom 2015

On Friday (03 APR), Shara and I made our annual trip to the Butterflies in Bloom exhibit at the Dow Gardens conservatory.  Every time we have visited this exhibited it has always been crowded - Friday was no exception.  When we first arrived at the exhibit, there were so many people in the conservatory that it was almost impossible to walk around.  The crowd eventually thinned out a little bit.

The large crowds made many of the butterflies very skittish, especially when so many people wanted to handle them.  I love that this exhibit makes it possible for people to touch butterflies, but I am also conflicted about this.  I wish that before people are allowed into the exhibit they were given instructions on the proper way to handle them.  Too many of the butterflies in this exhibit have been mishandled - poked at, grabbed out of mid-air, crushed by well meaning fingers.  Butterflies are tougher than people think, but they are still fragile.

It must be noted that what is okay at this exhibit is not okay at other butterfly exhibits.  Many butterfly exhibits strictly prohibit touching.

Despite the crowds, I was able to get a few good photographs.  I used a longer zoom lens and focused on butterflies that were out of reach of the crowds or tucked into quiet corners.  These butterflies were more likely to stay in one place for a long time than those butterflies along the walkways.

Postman (Heliconius erato)

Owl Buttterfly (Caligo sp.)

Paper Kite (Idea leuconoe)

Postman (Heliconius erato)

Julia (Dryas julia)

Hecale Longwing (Heliconius hecale)

If you do decide to pick up a butterfly, do it with care.  If it wants to be on your hand it will stay there.  If it doesn't want to, just let it go.  Some of the species are more tolerant than others and will be more likely to allow you to pick them up gently

Shara with a Julia butterfly (Dryas julia)

Shara photographing a Blue Longwing (Heliconius cydino)

After we left the conservatory, we took the time to watch a few birds on our way back to the entrance.  First we saw an Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe) that was gather beakfuls of mud to construct a nest.

Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe)

Nearby we noticed a male Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) at the base of a shrub.  Both the Phoebe and the Downy Woodpecker were acclimated enough to people that I was able to get close enough for decent photographs.

Male Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)

It's not too late to catch the Butterflies in Bloom exhibit.  It will remain open daily until Sunday April 19th.  Exhibit hours are 10:00AM to 4:00PM.  Entrance to the exhibit is included with the $5 admission to Dow Gardens - there is also a $10 annual pass available.  Admission for students (ages 6 -17) is $1 and children 5 and under are admitted for free.

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