Monday, April 18, 2011

Vacation Download - Part II

Every year that we go out to the desert, we make a trip over to the Living Desert zoo they have there. And every year, I find it a frustrating experience because the heat is usually so intense (runs about 10 degrees warmer that at the resort or even the surrounding town) that a lot of the animals are hard to see because they're hiding in the shade or in their burrows AND we all get tired, sweaty, and cranky. So, last year, I decided that we just wouldn't go any more. But this year, we had some unusual weather out there. We actually had one cloudy, cool and rainy day. So, I thought, why not try the zoo again? And it was a totally different experience. Ryan actually paid a lot of attention the animals this time. The butterfly exhibit, where we usually see the most activity, was less exciting than usual because the cooler weather kept a lot of the butterflies from coming out. However, the trade off was that a LOT of the animals we never see were out and about and I got some great shots. This entry is about the butterflies and hummingbirds. I'll share more later this week about the other zoo animals. One of the first things you see in the exhibit is these glass cases full of narrow boards that are covered with various different kinds of chrysalis. Some of them are in the process of hatching - like this Lacewing. Another Lacewing - with chrysalis in the background. A newly hatched Painted Lady drying its wings. Then you move out into the rest of the enclosure that's full of pretty flowers. The butterflies were kind of scarce this time as I mentioned, but I did get a few good shots like this Spicebush Swallotail taking a drink of nectar. This plant is called a Star Cluster (cool name, right?) and the butterflies are C-R-A-Z-Y for it. This bush was covered in them, but several flew away just as I snapped the picture. Still, I can count at least five still on there with one in flight.

These Spicebush Swallowtails are my favorite butterfly in the exhibit.

Can you tell? Plus, I loved the contrast of this one sitting against those bright yellow-orange flowers - even if his wings ARE a little raggedy.

And here's another closeup of one on a Star Cluster.

Every year, I try to get a Luna Moth picture and I usually can't get close enough. Finally got one this year, although his wings aren't spread out all the way. Still, you can see the great colors!

Here's a pretty Painted Lady sitting on a white flower.

A Zebrawing taking a drink.

And here's what it looks like with its wings up - notice the bright red spots along the bottom edge. You can't see them from the top. I think it's kind of like their own secret tattoo ;-)

I am not above using the kid as bait to attract a Julia butterfly and get a great shot.

But the exhibit is home to more than just butterflies. Now, they have hummingbirds as well. This is a newly-fledged Purple Chinned hummingbird. When the sunlight hits his throat feathers just right, they flash an almost metallic violet color. I tried, but just couldn't get a shot of that.

I did get this Anna's hummingbird sitting on a branch next to the feeder.

She actually let me get a closeup!

And I don't care if it IS a little blurry. Do you know how fast these buggers are?

But, the exhibit is not the only place where you can find them. We sat on a bench at one of the shuttle stops and watched about 30 minutes straight of "Hummingbird Wars" aka "Dude, That's MY Flower!" Most of these are newly fledged youngsters and they are seriously battling it out for territory.

"Look, Ma, my wings are invisible!"

NOW, the sun comes out and I get a great shot of a Purple Chinned Hummingbird.

I want some beads that color!!

After I got dizzy from trying to capture the zooming hummingbirds, I decided to try some easier shots...of things that stand still. Like this Butterfly Flower bush.

Pretty pink and white daisies.

I wish these had been fully opened because the colors were gorgeous. Oh, and I forgot to ask what they're called, but I think of them as the Sunset Flower because of the colors.

This actually turned out to be my favorite shot of the entire day. I love the tiny detail of the water droplets on the flower.

I hope some of this stuff will find its way into jewelry designs as color inspirations.



Marbella Jewelry Designs said...

it does get exhausting in the intense heat there. glad to got a cooler day to check it out again.

Copper Diem said...

I didn't even know that was out there! I'll have to check it out!

TesoriTrovati said...

I love the butterfly exhibit! We have gone to that once or twice when it was at the Milwaukee public museum. But Tiny Dancer runs screaming from them like some little freak. I mean, they are BUTTERFLIES! That girl is so weird! But I love her!
Enjoy the day!

pam ferrari said...

Amazing Pictures!

lunedreams said...

Oh that Julia butterfly is my favorite! Wonderful color and fascinating shape. Loved the Zebrawing too. Kudos for capturing that purple chin! WOW!! Hummingbirds are the coolest. Thanks for sharing!