How many butterflies are there?

September 15, 2015 at 1:36 am Leave a comment


Birds at the conservatory too

Saturday of our holiday week with my east-coast friend we went to the Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory. Because it was a bright sunny day outdoors and the light shines in through the conservatory roof, the butterflies were quite active.

What I learned recently from reading the book, The Art of Butterfly Gardening, by Matthew Tekulsky, butterflies have their own behaviour. Some flit around continuously and even as they gather nectar their little bodies are moving as though they had ADHD and then there are the ones with a less dramatic fashion and who sit on the feeding plant as though they had all the time in the world. We were about to observe which ones did what, and of  course I didn’t have the book with me as it was from the local library, but still it was an enjoyable time since we had purchased a chart with the birds and butterflies represented there and spent time taking photos and figuring out the names of the butterflies.

Just so you know, no North American butterflies are represented in this place though there are charts showing the Monarch, one of the few that flies to Canada but doesn’t overwinter there.


The Wood Nymph and Rice Paper butterflies are so much alike and both from South East Asia, but we thought this one was the Rice Paper butterfly. Very pretty  and it looks almost like lace.



See the tiny white bird sitting on the branch? We saw a few of those but have no name for them.


Easier to see the markings here, though some butterflies’ upper wing pattern differs from the lower pattern when they sit. While sunning they spread their wings, but to protect themselves from predators, they keep their wings closed, like the owl butterfly.


Food dish where butterflies sit and sip and sun all at once.



DSCF9358The Blue Morpho, and there were many of these. This is how they look on the top with quite a different appearance on the bottom, when they fold up their wings.


DSCF9365The Bamboo Page in the centre, with the Cracker ( I think) on the left and the Rice Paper on the right.


DSCF9368One of the guides holding a strange insect on her hand

Spiny Stick Insect



DSCF9372Read more about it here. Looks weird and maybe a bit scary, but it’s totally harmless, according to the guide.



DSCF9391There’s a waterfall feature and a pond. Maryann was watching the fish and turtles swimming and the turtles poking their heads up.




bird feeders for those small birds


DSCF9371 The butterfly stayed way up there. I kept hoping he’d land closer to us.




DSCF9381We saw butterflies coming out of their cocoons and letting their wings dry before flying


DSCF9382Some kind of beetle. I don`t remember its name. Harmless or the guide wouldn`t be holding it.



DSCF9357The Owl Butterfly, from a distance the spots looks like an owl`s eye, but on the topside when its wings are spread, it looks quite different


DSCF9383Showing the life cycles of a butterfly, only there are no Monarchs in this place



The pond from a different direction. Turtle has his head above water again. Liking those leaves.


DSCF9396Pretty purple plants. Would like some of those in my garden, except they`re probably not suited to our climate


DSCF9400Ending our tour of the conservatory itself with this one that sat so still so I could take his picture. A Golden Birdwing, I believe.


We stayed around for a cold drink and then checked some other displays in the building. More for another blog post. I hope you enjoyed this post as much as we enjoyed seeing the place and all the butterflies and beautiful foliage.

Photos by C. Wilker


Entry filed under: photography, plants, science. Tags: , , , .

From one holiday to another Encouragement

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