A butterfly vs a shooting star

Thursday, 13 August 2020

It was a late one last night, and by the looks of it – as I glance at the time while typing this – it will be tonight as well.

Perseids Meteor Shower

The Perseids Meteor Shower peeked last night. As it was a clear, warm night, I headed out to watch…and take pictures, of course 😉 I started in my backyard but it was too bright courtesy of my neighbour’s ornamental solar lights. I headed right down to the river bank, set up my chair and tripod, doused myself in bug spray and waited.

I took a few shots and quickly realized the focus was way off. Do you have any idea how challenging it is to focus on the night sky at night? I got it set up, took lots of long exposure shots, think I saw the milky way so moved my camera to try and capture it. I didn’t see any meteors though which was disappointing. I shut everything off and just sat and waited. Until I heard a strange noise coming from behind me. Kind of like a grunting but different. I couldn’t place it. Prayed it wasn’t anything that would bite me, or gawd forbid spray me! I chose to ignore the sound and enjoy the magnificent view…A loud slap scared the bejesus out of me. Beaver. It must be a beaver. I shined my little light on the river and couldn’t see him but he wasn’t done with me. Once I settled in again, the noise started up followed shortly with another loud slap of his tail on the water. If you’ve never had the pleasure of hearing that slap, especially at close range, it’s stunning. Not to mention a little spooky at night when you can’t see anything.

I decided to move further up the hill, away from his space. So so glad I did. As soon as I settled in my chair, the meteors were flying by. In less than 30 minutes, I saw 9 meteors! Thank you beaver! I took more long exposures hoping a meteor would go by while the shutter was open. I tried to view the images on my phone but needed my glasses…where were my glasses? Oh no! I dropped them somewhere along the way from the river bank. Back I went with my little flashlight, retracing my steps. When I got back to the spot where my chair had been, the beaver started grunting (or whatever you would call it) and gave me another tail slap. It was difficult enough trying to find my glasses in the dark in long grass without worrying about Mr. Beaver attacking me. Big sigh and then I remembered…Nothing is lost in the eyes of God. Nothing is lost in the eyes of God. Nothing is lost in the eyes of God and there they were! Found them. Phew!

It wasn’t until tonight, as I was getting ready to write this that I took a look at the photos I took last night. Quite a few of them have meteors flying by and a few have, what I believe is, the Milky Way!

Monarch Butterfly

The reason for today’s blog title is which should be photo of the day? The lucky capture of meteors or being in the right place, at the right time to have an encounter with a Monarch butterfly in my butterfly garden? The butterfly wins!

I put the lawn tractor away after having mowed the lawns and, as I was walking back to the house, I had the thought, “What will my photo of the day be? I haven’t taken any pictures yet.” It was going on 7 pm and I still hadn’t taken a photo. I remembered seeing a thistle blooming next to the lilac bush and thought it would make a nice photo, so I headed over there with my phone camera in hand. I took a couple of pictures then walked over to my butterfly garden. I stayed for a few moments, keeping a close eye on it, looking for visitors. Nothing caught my eye so I moved towards the second portion of the garden and a monarch butterfly flew out of it, danced around me then left, fluttering across the yard. I was so thrilled to see it and have it fly around me that that was enough. I entered the garden to take pictures of a black-eyed susan and when I turned back, the monarch was there, sitting on a thistle. I moved close and took a few photos and a video with my phone. What a moment. I went back to the house, grabbed my DSLR and it was still there. I managed to get a few more photos then left it alone and admired it from afar.

It’s hard to sum up, or explain, why I get so excited when a Monarch butterfly visits my garden. My Dad started this garden specifically for them. He planted milkweed every year. After his death, I took it over and have added lots of other plants that are native to our area that butterflies and bees like. I work hard at this garden every year so when I see a butterfly and/or a bee enjoying the fruits of my labour, I get excited. When I see a Monarch butterfly, for whom this garden was built, I get ecstatic!

I also feel like a visit from a Monarch is a visit from my Dad. What’s not to love about that?!

Monarch butterfly on a thistle.
Photo of the day, 13 August 2020 ©WQuinn

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