Thursday, September 21, 2017

Painted Ladies Come to the Neighborhood

A bunch of Painted Ladies have come to Stafford County. It may sound like a Red Light District is infiltrating the countryside. But these Painted Ladies are much more genteel.
Painted Lady butterflies – which look similar to monarchs – are flourishing in Central Kansas “exponentially more” than usual, according to Jim Mason, director of Wichita’s Great Plains Nature Center, in a Wichita Eagle interview. Favorable weather conditions in Oklahoma and Texas earlier this year allowed multiple generations of painted ladies to thrive, Mason said. Now they've arrived in Kansas.

Enjoy them while you can, Mason said, because they won’t last long. Unlike monarchs, which have a north-south migration pattern, painted ladies – which have a lifespan of anywhere between two weeks and a month – don’t migrate away from cold temperatures.

“They will just generally go north and breed, lay eggs and die,” Mason said. “Come winter time, whichever ones are left here will perish – then the whole thing starts over again next year.”

It may look like I just waltzed out to the road and quickly got a photo of a Painted Lady in full regalia, spreading her wings and showing off the goods. But it took a whole lot of frames with her wrapped up like a modest lady in her robe - keeping her wings tucked together.
Admittedly, they are pretty with just their "underwear" showing, too. But between their quick movements as they collected nectar and the sunflowers swaying in a warm Kansas breeze, it was not an easy photo shoot.
I also had tried the day before at the Rose of Sharon shrubs we have at our north driveway.
They were modest then, too, though one was willing to share the spotlight with a clouded sulfur "cousin."
I didn't realize I'd gotten a second Painted Lady with her wings spread until I got back to the computer. (See the arrow pointing at the other butterfly.)
It was a Where's Waldo moment, kind of like seeing a yellow clouded sulfur butterfly on a yellow sunflower.
They were equal opportunity nectar gatherers: They liked the flowers in their own color and those in other hues. There could be a lesson there, I suppose.

A Time to Pray

Dear Lord, today I will notice Your hand in the details
that magnify Your love here on earth.
(From my email Guideposts devotional)

Read more here:


  1. So glad you found the time and patience to take these wonderful images.

  2. Thanks, Helen. I will get by to "visit" your blog soon. We had to take an unexpected trip to South Dakota, where Randy's brother was in the hospital. I took some photos of painted ladies there, too!

  3. It is always there. Your life is so busy, I don't know how you even find time to write your own blog so beautifully. Best wishes for a speedy recovery to Randy's brother.

  4. Beautiful photos Kim. You have such patience to take these photos. Butterflies don't usually stay still for long. There is definitely a calendar photo amongst this post!

    1. Thanks, Lynda. Yes, I was thinking it would be a nice September calendar photo!

  5. Beautiful butterfly and sunflower captures, Kim! How fun to see the gorgeous butterflies and the way they fit in with the bright yellow flowers.

    The monarchs came through our area a few weeks ago. J and I didn't notice a huge amount of butterflies, but several neighbors did. I wish I would have paid more attention.

    1. We were in Rapid City, Deadwood and the surrounding area for several days last week visiting Randy's brother in the hospital. There were bunches of painted ladies anywhere there were flowers. I took some photos there, too, but I had already scheduled this post before I left, so the SD butterflies weren't included.

    2. We haven't seen many Monarchs yet. I'll keep looking. I know at a special Monarch Mania event a couple of weeks ago, they only tagged 10 Monarchs, but the painted ladies were abundant.