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Monarch Butterfly (ventral) & Seaside Goldenrod

Posted by
Julie L. Brown, Photobirder (Indianapolis, Indiana, United States) on 16 November 2015 in Animal & Insect and Portfolio.

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©2010-2015 Julie L. Brown, All rights reserved

Cape May Point State Park
Cape May, New Jersey

"The annual migration of North America’s monarch butterfly is a unique and amazing phenomenon. The monarch is the only butterfly known to make a two-way migration as birds do."

Just as it is for migrating birds, the Jersey shore is along a major flyway and provides important habitat for migrating monarchs . The geography of the Cape May Peninsula contributes to this: "Monarchs traveling south congregate on peninsulas. The shape of the peninsula funnels the migrating butterflies. At its tip, the monarchs find the shortest distance across open water. They congregate along the shore to wait for a gentle breeze to help them across."

Seaside Goldenrod "The flowers are an important food/energy source for fall migrating monarch butterflies traveling the Atlantic coastal flyway."

Here are the links for the Cape May Bird Observatory Monarch Monitoring Project (MMP): homepage (On November 1, 2015 Mark Garland became the new director of the MMP) and blog

Here is a dorsal view of a monarch from my January 2015 post on the same subject:

In 2013 (October 6-12), I traveled to southern New Jersey for "Cape May Magic" an American Birding Association workshop conducted by Mark Garland and Pat & Clay Sutton . It was a wonderful week of birding and learning about birds, although it was rainy and very windy. The storm, a nor'easter (a cyclonic storm that moves along the east coast of North America. It’s called “nor’easter” because the winds over coastal areas blow from a northeasterly direction) , lasted most of the week. As a result, the conditions were generally very challenging for bird photography. Despite the weather, I enjoyed it so much that I spent another five days there in mid-October 2014. Due to its location at the end of a peninsula bordered by Delaware Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, Cape May , New Jersey is a migrant trap and one of the top birding destinations in North America.
CHECK OUT MY WORDPRESS BLOG Indybirdphotographer.wordpress.com For species profiles, location reports, random nature notes, as well as links to my favorite photographers, nature bloggers, and conservation websites. LATEST POST: Backyard Birdwatching: Immature

Canon EOS 5D Mark III 1/400 second F/5.6 ISO 1000 700 mm

To see my spotlight images, click here .
This photoblog is my nature journal and travelogue. Many of my wildlife images were made in environments impacted by humans. My goal is to feature each animal in a way that allows the viewer to sense the essence of its life in the wild. The purpose of the accompanying narratives is to enhance awareness and appreciation of our natural world, as well as to inspire everyone to protect and care for it.

jean pierre a from France

magnifique photo! amitiés

16 Nov 2015 7:01am

Lai Chan See from Singapore, Singapore

Exquisitely beautiful.

16 Nov 2015 7:39am

Ronnie 2¢ from Atlantic Shores, United Kingdom

So bright and colorful - we need our spirits lifted in these difficult times.

16 Nov 2015 8:00am

@Ronnie 2¢: We do. Thank you, Ronnie.

Moridi from Tehran, Iran

Beautiful shot. Superb.

16 Nov 2015 8:19am

Sonja from Wörgl, Austria

Sehr schön, Julie ! Fein, dass du wieder zurück bist ! Herzliche Grüße aus Tirol !

16 Nov 2015 9:26am

Dimitrios from ATHENS, Greece


16 Nov 2015 10:13am

Devi from Chennai, India

what a lovely image..... I love this special focus on the butterfly and the flowers she is perched on !

16 Nov 2015 11:01am

Michael Skorulski from Toronto, Canada

A beautiful image. Well done.

16 Nov 2015 12:05pm

Luca Bobbiesi from Milano, Italy

Wonderful work!

16 Nov 2015 2:38pm

Aigleloup from Rebecq, Belgium


16 Nov 2015 3:36pm

Ruthiebear from Titusville, NJ, United States

Gorgeous color and I love the soft feel

16 Nov 2015 6:57pm

Steven from Chicagoland, United States

Beautiful colors and clarity captured here!!

16 Nov 2015 7:32pm

omid from mashhad, Iran

very nice shot!
L O V E L Y !!!

16 Nov 2015 8:13pm

Josep from Barcelona, Spain

Beautiful colors and sharpness in this attractive macro. Very nice DOF. Excellent background.

16 Nov 2015 10:40pm

DarkElf from Perth, Australia

Beautiful! Fantastic detail and colours.

17 Nov 2015 2:21am

Focales from Entre montagnes et Bretagne, France

Just superb Julie

17 Nov 2015 5:26am

L'Angevine from Angers, France


17 Nov 2015 8:34am

Michael Skorulski from Toronto, Canada

Very pretty with a very good DOF.

17 Nov 2015 1:03pm

♡ Isa from Vaucluse, France

Superbe !

18 Nov 2015 9:36am

Anita from West Nottingham, Pennsylvania, United States

Perfect focus on the butterfly.

19 Nov 2015 11:44am

@Anita: Thanks! Did you notice that I shot this image with a focal length of 700mm? I rented a 500mm lens and a 1.4X for this trip and carried the rig on a monopod. It was fun.

Anita from West Nottingham, Pennsylvania, United States

Thank you for the information about Cape May butterfly migration!

19 Nov 2015 11:48am

@Anita: You are welcome, Anita. They do good work in Cape May.

Anita from West Nottingham, Pennsylvania, United States

Julie: I did not notice the 700mm!! Wow! I would assume it was heavy.

19 Nov 2015 5:12pm

@Anita: Not really that heavy. The new 500mm f4L IS II (which I rented for the trip) 1.4XIII on a monopod is actually pretty easy to carry around all day. I love that lens and have rented one for a few trips.

B. Thomas from Arlington, Texas, United States

Texas is making a push to improve their habit, and encouraging people to plant milkweed for them. I hope their numbers improve. Great shot.

21 Nov 2015 4:52am

@B. Thomas: Thanks, Barbara. Texas is the funnel point for the eastern flyway into Mexico, isn't it? I just saw a 'This Old House' segment where they were landscaping a backyard for Monarchs in Dallas/Fort Worth I think.

Akbar&Armaghan from Gorgan, Iran


2 Dec 2015 11:27am

@Akbar&Armaghan: Thank you!

This image has been featured in 2 Remix collections.

Butterfly 2015 by omid

Interesting insects by Ruthiebear

Canon EOS 5D Mark III
1/400 second
ISO 1000
700 mm