Yesterday I was able to meet up with one of my wonderful friends, Izabela, to go explore the butterfly sanctuary at Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory & Gardens. What a wonderful day it was!!
Iza and I met nearly two years ago in our sophomore English class and became fast friends (we also were in the same French class). She was then an exchange student from Bydgoszcz, Poland. We were all very upset when she had to leave at the end of the year, and estactic that she returned for part of the summer!!
So we met up to go have a butterfly adventure and catch up with one another and, as promised, take many, many photos. It was such a lovely day!!
I absolutely adore this butterfly sanctuary, although it is not very large, there are these wonderful winding paths, gazebos, benches and all types of little architectural designs that allow you to sit for a while and watch the butterflies flitting about, take pictures, and hope for one to land on you! It is a little tropical oasis tucked away in Massachusetts filled with butterflies and moths from all over the world. It was the perfect place for Iza and I to walk about, take photos and chat about whatever came to mind (although the main topic was, of course, butterflies!). We had a lot of fun chasing (figuratively, of course) butterflies around, trying to take pictures of their beautiful designs, colors and shapes. They are like tiny little kites, pausing for a few moments in one spot before flying off to find another leaf or flower to perch on.
I have to admit, I am quite happy with the photos I was able to take of them all. I learned quickly that about two thirds of the photos you take of butterflies will be blurry, too dark, too light, or won’t have any butterflies in them. It was quite the lesson in photography, but most definitely an enjoyable one.
As soon as you walk through the door, you are surrounded by these lovely little creatures, flying around you in a fancifully colored whirlwind. Before we even had the chance to take our cameras out, one had landed on Iza’s hand, a Malachite butterfly from Costa Rica. I loved their bright lime green color!!
These Owl Butterflies intrigued me quite a bit – they seemed so solemn and stately, perched on the trunks of trees throughout the sanctuary. I never really saw any flying about. When they are open completely, they look like the face of a little barn owl. Maybe that’s why I like them… they look like owls!
This beauty had me confused for a long while. It looked so similar to the familiar Monarch butterflies we have all over around here (and the rest of N. America and parts of S. America), but I did notice some differences from the Monarch and this little bugger. Turns out, after quite a bit of research, it’s a Queen butterfly. Rather pretty, isn’t it?
This butterfly is pretty cool. The wings when spread are so pretty, a dusky blue with an orange band and a really beautiful shape. But when it’s wings are closed, it looks like a dead leaf, so it’s not hard to figure out why it is sometimes called the Dead Leaf Butterfly!
Plain brown butterflies (like the one above) turned out to be not only the most elusive to photograph (we spent a load of time trying to snap good photos of these devious little things), but one of the prettiest in the sanctuary because they hold a little secret within their wings. Just look!
These elusive beauties are called Common Blue Morhpo Butterflies. They are so beautiful, with their secret velvety blue wings on the inside, hidden by a common brown color on the outside! And they are very large, much larger than the width of my palm when stretched out, wing-tip to wing-tip. I love them so!
Iza had this little Common Blue Morpho butterfly for a few minutes as a passenger. I think it liked the lovely color of her dress!
Although both Iza and I (and Iza’s oh-so-patient boyfriend, Ian) were busy snapping photos of all the gorgeous butterflies, we couldn’t help but take a few pictures of each other taking pictures!
The butterfly Iza is photographing is a Birdwing Butterfly. They are huge!! I got quite a few pictures of these Indonesian butterflies.
I think the Birdwing butterflies were one of my favorites. The blues and yellows on their wings were so pretty, changing colors depending on the light. They were so vibrant. I found it very interesting how differently colored the males and females are. The males have more yellow and blue, whereas the females have a darker coloring with more red and white on their wings.
But this little guy, a Cydno Longwing, is my favorite. He’s so small, yet so pretty. The blue is so dark with a beautiful shimmer, making the white seem all that much brighter.
I also really loved these beautifully intricate Paper Kite butterflies. The contrast between the black veins and white coloring made them look like gorgeous Scherenschnitt paper cuttings.
The biggest flying creature at the sanctuary was the slightly terrifying Atlas moth. No lie, it is bigger than a dinner plate. If it hadn’t been sleeping, if it were flying around, I woulda high tailed it right out of that place. I probably would have had a heart-attack of the brain.
My first thought was “Holy stinkin’ moth, batman!” Then my next thought was that I was so so so happy that it resided in Malaysia. Then I mentally ticked Malaysia off my ‘Places to Visit’ list.
But despite all the nice photos I was able to capture, this one remains my favorite (thanks, Ian, for snapping it for us).
It was such a wonderful day, and I feel so blessed to have stolen Iza away for a few hours to have a picnic, explore the butterfly sanctuary and take a quick tour of the Yankee Candle Outlet. She is my butterfly & roses & ladybug friend!!
I have more photos of our trip to the sanctuary here, if you’d like to take a peek!