Wednesday, August 7 – Butterfly Bonanza

by Cam Miller. 0 Comments

Day 339 – Butterfly Bonanza!

(Click any photo to enlarge.)

***Scroll down to see my offer for Red Cross donations.***

Hummingbird Moth
Limenitis arthemis

As I near the end of my year of walking, I am working on the list of places that I still have left to go.  One of those places was the Riverside Research Park off Gas House Pike in Frederick.

I chose this place in order to challenge myself.  I was sure it was going to be nothing but buildings, open spaces, parking lots, and roads.  I have often told people that I could find things to take pictures of in an empty parking lot, so today, I thought, I would address that challenge.

Tiger Swallowtail
Fuzzy Fellow

At first, as I drove into the huge industrial complex, much of which is not visible from the road, I found exactly what I expected.  The first large building that I came to was a factory-like research facility, and the sign outside said that it was the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research.  I drove past it, finding other similar buildings, such as the Charles River complex.  Then there were sprawling single level professional office complexes, many of which did not yet have tenants.  There is plenty of room for growth here.

I drove back to the Cancer Research Center, where I had seen some other cars parked on the road in front of the facility.  I decided to walk along the nicely landscaped walking paths that led in from the main road, Gas House Pike.

See the green mantis in the middle?

Imagine my surprise when I walked near discovered myriad butterfly bushes in bloom, tucked in among all the well maintained plantings.  I approached some of the bushes, which still had great blooms despite being just past peak, and there were loads of yellow swallowtails, some black swallowtails, and even a monarch or two.  The monarchs managed to elude my camera, but I was happy to see them, since they seem to be in short supply this year.

Eeeww Factor!

There were also hummingbird moths, little yellow butterflies, and plenty of brown and orange butterflies.  There were a few butterflies I could not identify, as well.  I also found a very fuzzy pale green caterpillar, a praying mantis hiding in a fluffy seed ball, and a writhing group of yellow and orange caterpillars/worms, clustered together on the end of a branch stripped bare of leaves.  Can anyone tell me what these caterpillars might become?

Butterfly Bush

I walked to the end of the planting area, and then decided that I just had to count bushes.  As I said, these were big planting beds, with a variety of trees, bushes, and natural grasses, with butterfly bushes mixed in.  I started at one end, and by the time I had walked the entire length of the planting beds, I had counted 60 butterfly bushes, each with multiple butterflies.   It was a quite a delightful find.

I expected my walk to be a challenge today, photographically, but it turned into quite a treat.  I think I know where my camera club needs to take a butterfly field trip next July, when the bushes will be at their peak again.  No one will be disappointed!

Save the date!  Monday, September 2, will be the
last day of my year long photo walk project, and I’m planning a big
celebration walk with anyone who wants to join me!  September 2 is also
Labor Day, so many of you will have the day off.  The walk will be in
downtown Frederick, around 9 a.m., followed by a brunch.  More details
will be posted on my blog as they get confirmed.  But mark your
calendars, grab your cameras, put on your walking shoes, and join me for
my final Daily Photo Walk.  Let’s jam the streets of Frederick with
photo walkers! 


Click on any photo to enlarge it.
Forward me by email any receipt for an online donation made to the Red Cross for
disaster relief, and I will send you a 5×7 print of your choice from
any of my daily photo walks or from my website.  Offer good until
September 2, 2013.

Visit my web site:

Follow me on Twitter: @camscamerashots


Cam’s rules for the Daily Photo Walk:

  1. walk every day
  2. the walk must be in addition to any other planned activity for the day
  3. post a photo every day
  4. use whatever camera is easy and convenient for walking comfortably;
    always have a backup camera at the ready in case of mishaps (I use the
    Nikon Coolpix P7700)
  5. no weather excuses
  6. walk only where it is safe to do so

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