Sunday, August 16, 2009

Butterfly King

This regal butterfly - the Monarch - is one we enjoy each August. I was getting into the car - camera in hand - when I noticed a Monarch flitting about the zinnias we have planted right outside the garage door. Would it hurt to walk over that way and see if he'd alight?
And so he did - immediately - and he stayed on a flower while I composed and focused this shot.

A wider view (below) and the exquisite details of the orange and black wings unfold. Danaus plexippus, it is named, but the more common "Monarch" is how we call it. I remember as a child watching the chrysalis hanging on a fence and how it became more transparent with each passing day. Finally I watched the finished butterfly emerge from the greenish capsule, replete with golden regal dots. They looked to be painted on with the finest of brushes.
We have now plenty of milkweed about the grounds and I suppose this accounts for our plethora of adult butterflies. They're usually a little tentative and flit onward when I approach.
But not this time.
Imagine the journey ahead, the tattered miles to Mexico. Imagine "King Billy" then as he joins legions of others, moving to Central America.
Why King Billy? Why for the colors of King William of Orange: orange and black.