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 – Waterside Collage

Five hours flies by when doing something enjoyable. That is exactly what happened when visiting a small lake to get some landscape photos. Not all the photos turned out to be landscape, some were just critters that caught my eye.

Without many words (difficult for me!!) here’s a couple collages from my five hours, lakeside with my camera.

These pictures were taken throughout the morning, starting around 6:00 am and at different points along the lake. This makes for a variation in the colors not only of the sky, but also the water.

Hope you like these pictures! If you have questions about any of the photos – feel free to ask. You know – every picture has a story! Like the dandelion, it reminds me of… Wait! I said this post would have a few words. 🙂

Thank you for stopping by and checking out my blog! 🙂

All photos are originals by Kim Lawless

Photography · Writing

Back Yard Photographer – Northern Cardinal – The Date

Northern Cardinals on lookout

It starts with a song. The male cardinal sings to attract their mate. Once she responds , the courtship truly begins. Here are some photos from this cardinal pair’s first date. (At least it is their first date in my mind – makes everything seem just that much sweeter!)

“Would you like to share a seed with me?” Asked the male Northern Cardinal. He had been practicing the “move” for months. Ever since his love responded to his song.

Being some what shy, the female Northern Cardinal hesitated for a moment and then whispered “Yes.”

Without a second thought, he jumped to share her fence post and the seed.

The seed, and the first kiss, shared.

His heart pounded as he kissed his love. He knew this moment would change his life forever. He couldn’t be happier.

His love, his one true love – forever.

There you have it – the Northern Cardinal’s love story. Guess I’m going to have to look for a nest nearby. 😉

Thank you for stopping by and checking out my blog. Hope you liked it!!

All photos are originals by Kim Lawless