#butterflies

Summer Splendor at Snug Harbor

Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden is a wonderful retreat on Staten Island that offers 23 historical buildings, including museums, cultural institutions, and nine botanical gardens on 83 acres just a short bus ride from the Staten Island ferry terminal at St. George. I visited on August 10 for the first time, and was rewarded with so many gorgeous flower photos, plus some nice bugs and butterflies. I've now added a Snug Harbor page to this Web site, which you can visit for even more flowers and insects.

My favorite shot from August 10 at Snug Harbor

My favorite shot from August 10 at Snug Harbor

Below are some of the flowers and bugs I loved seeing. I tried in many shots to get as deep inside the bloom as I could, as well as to show the "landscape" of a flower. And I was so excited to get shots of the sulphur butterfly, as well as monarchs.

The "landscape" of a flower

The "landscape" of a flower

Deep inside a bloom

Deep inside a bloom

The interior offers color, and a bug

The interior offers color, and a bug

Sulphur butterfly

Sulphur butterfly

SH 1500 8-10-2018 SI 069P.jpg
Monarch butterfly

Monarch butterfly

Island Hopping

Governors Island is just a short ferry ride away from the Isle of Manhattan, and definitely a summer destination (as well as a spring and early fall place to visit). It has an absolutely incredible view of the Statue of Liberty!

The view from the west side of Governors Island, Aug. 6

The view from the west side of Governors Island, Aug. 6

There is a lot of nature there, particularly birds and flowers, but good bugs, too! The island has very few cars (only official and vendor motorized vehicles allowed), lots of bicycles, and many pedestrians. Slowly but surely, more and more touristy places to spend your money are popping up on the small island. But in advance of the total commercialization that will probably deprive Governors Island of its charm, I've been visiting and documenting the nature there. On August 6, I walked around the island photographing wildlife and avoiding people. I offer here An August Nature Walk on Governors Island.

For the last two years, a pair of yellow-crowned night herons have been nesting on the island. The babies this year are so delightful.

Yellow-crowned night heron youngsters, Governors Island, Aug. 6

Yellow-crowned night heron youngsters, Governors Island, Aug. 6

GI 1500 8-6-2017 130P.jpg
GI 1500 8-6-2017 140P.jpg

The first stop of my walk was just west of the castle, where I saw a banded common tern. I watched it for a while, and you can see the flight in the video.

On a building across from the Harbor School, a mother herring gull watched over her kids, occasionally squawking at them. Below, on the ground, two youngsters ran around, stretched or slept. I shifted my focus between the gulls and the heron nest.

Mama Herring Gull, keeping watch

Mama Herring Gull, keeping watch

A baby herring gull, hanging out below Mom

A baby herring gull, hanging out below Mom

A very balletic baby gull

A very balletic baby gull

After leaving the Harbor School area, I walked south along the west shore and found least sandpipers exploring the rocks.

There are flowers to be found everywhere you look on the island, not only in the Urban Garden (which I didn't visit on this trip) or the garden in front of the Harbor School.

And I saw lots of bugs, but focused on the butterflies, including a very beautiful skipper, a monarch butterfly, a cabbage butterfly, a painted lady and a battle-scarred spicebush butterfly (I think, but am not sure).

This butterfly has seen better days, but has survived. Harbor School garden

This butterfly has seen better days, but has survived. Harbor School garden

The island will remain accessible through the end of October. I will go back, I hope several times, and hope to have lunch those days at Little Eva's.

Flitter-Flutterers

I don't usually think of October as a time for butterflies, but this October has been quite wonderful to see all sorts of them. I offer here two flutterbys: a monarch and a buckeye, with videos and photos.

Shakespeare Garden in Central Park is a wonderful place to look for butterflies. There is often great sunlight, and lots of milkweed to attract the monarchs. I saw a perfect monarch butterfly on Oct. 12 — no rips in the wings, or any other damage to this gorgeous flitterer.

Monarch butterfly  (Danaus plexippus), Shakespeare Garden, Oct. 12, 2016

Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus), Shakespeare Garden, Oct. 12, 2016

The video is set to the second half of Dance of the Hours by Ponchielli (the first half was used in the buckeye butterfly video). If you haven't seen the prequel to this monarch video, check out Monarch Wannabes.

 

On October 7, I got to photograph a buckeye butterfly (Junonia coenia Hübner) at Conservatory Garden in Central  Park.

Common buckeye, Conservatory Garden, Oct. 7, 2016

Common buckeye, Conservatory Garden, Oct. 7, 2016

I am in the process of a much longer video, to be included in my Contemplate This series of videos. My effort in this series is to create videos that you can put on your computer when you want to relax, and just watch relaxing, soothing images set to nice music. A couple are in the works, and my butterfly video will feature quite a variety of butterflies over four years.