Female Great Spangled Fritillary Nectaring on Musk Thistle in the Wasatch Mountains

/, Little Emigration Canyon, Morgan County, Utah, Wasatch Mountains, Wildflowers/Female Great Spangled Fritillary Nectaring on Musk Thistle in the Wasatch Mountains

This time of the year finding birds gets a bit harder as the summer heat and doldrums set in so while I am looking for birds to photograph I also look for other creatures to take images of including the many butterflies, dragonflies and other insects I find to aim my lens towards. Everything in nature is connected and I feel that I should take the time to photograph whatever I see while I am looking for feathered subjects.

Female Great Spangled Fritillary nectaring on Musk Thistle, Little Emigration Canyon, Morgan County, UtahFemale Great Spangled Fritillary nectaring on Musk Thistle – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1000, ISO 500,  Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Last week while I was up in a canyon in the Wasatch Mountains I spotted a female Great Spangled Fritillary butterfly nectaring on a Musk Thistle so I felt I had to take photos of she sipped the nectar of the flower. I’ve been taking a lot of photos lately with birds and butterflies on Musk Thistles, even though these thistles are introduced and invasive plenty of birds, butterflies and other insects have learned that these thistles are beneficial in sustaining their lives. Bees use the pollen, butterflies sip their nectar and some of the birds not only eat the seeds but use the thistle down to line their nests.

I saw lots of fritillary butterflies up in the canyon but this female was the only one that I photographed, she was close and cooperative.

Great Spangled Fritillary female on a Musk Thistle, Little Emigration Canyon, Morgan County, UtahGreat Spangled Fritillary female on a Musk Thistle – Nikon D500, f9, 1/800, ISO 500,  Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

She was actually so close that at f9 I still didn’t have enough depth of field to get all of her wings completely in focus. After this photo was taken I attempted to take a short video clip of her and by the time I stopped recording and was switching back to taking still photos she flew off. Maybe I will have another opportunity with this butterfly species before summer’s end, I hope so!

Life is good.

Mia

12 Comments

  1. Utahbooklover August 3, 2018 at 2:32 pm

    Love to learn about the environment, especially butterflies and blooming things too. Nice work.

  2. Pepe Forte July 31, 2018 at 11:38 am

    Extraordinary. Beautiful shots. Thanks Mia.

  3. Patty July 30, 2018 at 11:14 am

    Simply beautiful

  4. Patty Chadwick July 29, 2018 at 3:54 pm

    Those darned thistles are so pretty but so hard to control…once you have them lots of luck getting rid of them…complicated by how so many birds like their seeds and down. Beautiful shot, pretty colors, beautiful butterfly…

  5. Sybill Reed July 29, 2018 at 2:48 pm

    Hi sweetie! Beautiful Photo’s love mom

  6. Elephants Child July 29, 2018 at 1:57 pm

    Oooh. And ahhh. And Thank you.

  7. Marty K July 29, 2018 at 11:56 am

    She has such exquisite markings! Yesterday must have been some sort of dragonfly reunion at the shelter because they were all over, even coming into the gazebo while I was drying off a dog. I thought of you and wished I had a camera.

  8. Bob McPherson July 29, 2018 at 9:35 am

    beautiful photos, Mia

  9. sallie reynolds July 29, 2018 at 9:25 am

    How do you identify this as female?

  10. Liz Cormack July 29, 2018 at 9:07 am

    Beautiful butterfly. I don’t think we have either the butterfly or the Musk Thistle in southern Ontario.

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