Last of Wings of Fancy 2019

Brookside Gardens’ Wings of Fancy exhibit ended last Sunday for this year. I volunteered on the last morning….enjoyed some quiet times during the shift to savor the butterflies. When I checked my pictures – I realized that I tend to take my favorite butterflies the most often. The paper kites – because of their size and that it’s easy to see that the forewings and hindwings move independently.

The malachites. I like the creamy green of the underside of the wings the best. They remind me of jade.

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The blue morphos – the favorite of many people – because their blue is structural and changes with the way the light is shining on the wings….and that even the underside and body have interesting color and markings.

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The monarchs because I am concerned by the decline in their numbers.

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And finally – the owls. They have striped eyes…really do have eye spots that make them look like an owl when they fly, and on the other end of the wing (the upper part of the forewing) it looks like a small snake!

I’m already planning to volunteer at next year’s exhibit!

Brookside Gardens Wings of Fancy – April 2019


The Wings of Fancy live Butterfly Exhibit at Brookside Gardens opened in April. I am volunteering there again this season and my first shifts were toward the end of the month.

The Wings of Fancy live Butterfly Exhibit at Brookside Gardens opened in April. I am volunteering there again this season and my first shifts were toward the end of the month.

On the first morning there was a little rain as I arrived, and the outdoor temperature was cool. The sun came out and it warmed up a little as the day went on. The heaters were on in the conservatory to make a comfortable environment for the butterflies. I went in to do some photography before the exhibit opened for the day. The golden-edged owl is new this year and it tends to open and show its colors more than some of the other owls.

The Julia Longwing is around this year. There were a lot emerging from chrysalis during my 1st shift.

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The White Peacock had a lot emerging my second shift and I had groups of pre-schoolers observing! They were very excited and full of questions.

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The Malachites are available from two vendors this year – one in US which means that the chrysalises from that vendor can be in the emergence case in the exhibit.

The zebra longwings are always striking.

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And there are lots of other species too.

The big favorite of most visitors is the Blue Morpho. I like it for more than the metallic blue. The markings around the edges and ‘eye’ spots are interesting too. The orange color is supporting too.

The second day, I didn’t go in early or take my better camera - I still got two decent pictures with my cell phone. It was a little cool, so the butterflies were sitting around more…always good to go at 10 (when the exhibit opens) while it’s still cool!

2018 Wings of Fancy Ends

Yesterday was the last day of Brookside Gardens’ Wings of Fancy butterfly exhibit. I volunteered for the last morning shift; taking in zucchini muffins to share with the other volunteers and staff. It started out slow for the butterflies and visitors; the day was cool and very cloudy. Then it warmed up a little and the sun even came out.

I looked back through pictures I’ve taken in the exhibit -ones I’ve liked but not posted for one reason or another. I think if headlines for some of them:


A Birdwing resting – being harassed by a smaller butterfly


Three Queens


Sleeping late (butterflies roosting long past sunrise because it was so cloudy – mostly Longwings)

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Pining to go outdoors (Blue Morpho)

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Living jade (Malachite butterfly)

I put the rest into a slide show…to prolong the joy of the 2018 Wings of Fancy exhibit one more day. I’m already looking forward to next April when the 2019 version will open!

Butterflies at Brookside Gardens

August was a good month for butterflies at Brookside Gardens – both in the conservatory and outdoors in the gardens. Volunteering allows me to visit the Wings of Fancy exhibit and bring guests when I’m not ‘on shift;’ I get there just as the conservatory opens to indulge in some butterfly photography.

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I challenge myself to capture eyes, proboscis, palpi, and antennae for as many butterflies as possible.

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The blue morpho is one I photography a lot so I am always looking for a new and different perspective.

The blue morpho is one I photography a lot so I am always looking for a new and different perspective.

The same is true for true for the malachite. I think I like the underside of the wings more than the upper.

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The Julia longwing is the one I photographyed a few months ago moving its palpi across the parts of its eyes.

The stars for August were the big moths. There were male and female Atlas moths – kept separately so they couldn’t mate and lay eggs everywhere in the conservatory creating a containment problem. The males are much smaller than the females and the shape of the scale-less (clear) portions of the wing are different. In the pictures the male’s antennae are forward from the head…both females have antennae positioned back over their heads.

The other big moth was the Africa Moon Moth which looks very similar to our North American Luna Moth.

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The Wings of Fancy exhibit runs until September 16….so a few more weeks to enjoy the butterflies in the conservatory.

Celebrating Butterflies – Part 2

Continuing my August post about butterflies in the Brookside Gardens’ Wings of Fancy exhibit --- what a difference lighting makes. Both pictures below are the underside of the malachite butterfly week. The most colorful butterflies often have reflective/physical color rather than pigment…and so light makes a tremendous difference.

I looked more carefully at the color patterns on the butterfly wings and noticed that the ribs of the wing play a role in the pattern of some butterflies

And others where the ribs were not part of the pattern.

Another two butterflies were the ribs are part of the pattern – and even are boldly outlined on part of the wing – are the Queen

And the Monarch butterflies.

There is always something new to notice in the butterfly exhibit!