Photography · Writing

Back Yard Photographer – A Monarch?


For several days/weeks a single orange and black butterfly had flitted through the yard. It never stopped anywhere in the yard but it was beautiful to watch. From a distance I couldn’t tell if it was a Viceroy or a Monarch. I guessed it was a Viceroy, since there had been several in the yard last year.

Here’s a few photos from last year:

When I took these pictures last year, I had been so excited seeing these, as I thought they were Monarchs. After studying the pictures and various resources, I determined these were Viceroys. The only way I could tell last year was by the fine black line that goes across the wings. Not a monarch, but just as beautiful.

Are there other differences between a Monarch and a Viceroy? Yes there are! But not as easily seen.

  • The above noted thin second stripe on the wings
  • Viceroy is a bit smaller
  • Monarch’s caterpillars are yellow and brown where as the Viceroy looks like a green twig
  • Plants from the willow family are a favorite of the Viceroy, but a Monarch prefers Milkweed
  • Flight styles are a bit different as well – the Monarch has a smooth almost floating style where the Viceroy’s flight patter is more erratic


Here’s the photos of what I believe to be a Monarch that came for a visit.

There aren’t any milkweeds nearby, that I have seen, so I was very surprised to see these. I’m going to have to check around to see if I can find any milkweeds. If there are some, then there might just get to be more Monarchs in the area next year. I am VERY hopeful! I will keep you posted. 🙂

Thank you for stopping by and checking out my blog – hope you enjoy it!

All photos are originals by Kim Lawless

Photography · Writing

Back Yard Photographer – Butterflies and Flowers

Silver spotted skipper getting pollen from a Hosta flower

In the spring I had set out to grow more flowers and plants in my flower gardens that butterflies and hummingbirds would like. It took much experimentation and sadly some of the flowers didn’t survive. However, I now have a much better idea of what flowers I need to grow in very specific places. Next spring I will be replanting some from this year and trying some additional flowers and plants. I’ve also been trying to get a mixture, so the butterflies can get their nectar but also have a place for their larvae. I’m learning so much! It has also been fun getting pictures of the flowers and and some of the butterflies that have visited. I don’t have a large variety of visitors yet, but I shall keep trying!!

During the winter as I study more, I’m going to try to start some of the flowers from seed in doors, so they are ready to plant in the spring after the frost is done. Maybe this will give them a better chance of living as the experiments continue! 🙂

Here are a few of my favorite photos from my flower gardens with the butterflies:

Silver Spotted Skipper climbing a Hosta flower
Silver Spotted Skipper tasting a zinnia flower
European Skipper
European Skipper
Clouded Sulphur
Clouded Sulphur

Thank you for stopping by and checking out my blog. Hope you enjoyed the pictures!

All photos are originals by Kim Lawless


Back Yard Photographer – Butterflies and Warmer Weather

Weather can be quite the funny thing. Last week we had negative temperatures and this week most days are near 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius). Warmer weather gets me thinking about Spring, flowers and butterflies. Basically – I want some time outside, enjoying the weather and taking photos. 🙂 There is still plenty of snow on the ground, so flowers and butterflies are still a few months away. So flower and butterfly photography will have to wait a bit yet. So I went through some past butterfly photos and picked a few of my favorites. (Is it bad to have favorites of your own photos?)

These pictures have been taken over the past three years, so they are varying degrees in quality. I still like them as there are some fun memories in these photos for me. In the beginning, I was excited to just capture the subject clearly enough to recognize it. Since then, the excitement isn’t just about the composition of the photo but also the quality and the steps taken to get those photos.

I hope these photos make you think about warmer weather and/or some happy memories.

Hope you enjoy the photos! Thank you for stopping by and checking out my blog!

All photos are originals by Kim Lawless.


Back Yard Photographer – Views by the River

Sandbar on the river

Sat by a river for a little while, listing to the water and watching the current. Along the river’s edge were some plants and some insects, so I took their pictures too! 🙂 Hope you like the photos from my day by the river.

Question Mark Butterfly (That really is its name)
Common Whitetail Skimmer dragonfly
Painted Lady butterfly on a Purple Loosestrife

Thank you for stopping by and checking out my blog!

All photos are originals by Kim Lawless


Back Yard Photographer – Sunflowers

The sunflowers in my yard have gone through quite a bit this year as they were trying to establish themselves in the garden. Squirrels and rabbits thought they were tasty and almost destroyed the plants completely. But these sunflower plants, stood strong and survived. These are dwarf sunflowers and only stand about two and a half feet. Butterflies and bees are now enjoying the sunflowers.

This year I focused on adding flowers and plants that would attract pollinators (butterflies and bees) along with adding color to the flower garden. These have turned out to be a good addition to the garden. Even though they were purchased on a whim (sales tend to make that happen!), they have worked out nicely.

Here’s a few shots taken over the past month. Hope you enjoy them!!

Painted Lady
Sweat Bee
Pearl Crescent
Group photo 🙂

Thank you for stopping by and checking out my blog!

All photos are originals by Kim Lawless