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Vancouver Island
Victoria, BC
Butterfly Garden
Victoria Butterfly Gardens
Pictures for Pam

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Victoria's Butterfly Gardens, Part 1: Insectarium and a Tropical Paradise! (+10 insets)

Victoria's Butterfly Gardens, Part 1: Insectarium and a Tropical Paradise! (+10 insets)
(+10 insets!) (Please scroll down to "Today's Pictures" for image information)

Trip Talk: Victoria Butterfly Garden's Mind-Blowing Insectarium

If you can believe it, the next five sets of pictures I'll be showcasing from our Vancouver Island trip are also from Victoria! You may be wondering if we ever left the city after the zillions of pictures I've been sharing from this lovely city and its amenities. Trust me, we did. But I cannot leave this place until I've shown just a bit more!

As you know, Steve and I spent the day staggering drunkenly around Butchart Gardens as we did our best to capture the beauty that overwhelmed us everywhere we looked. What you may not know is that we weren't actually there all day. We took a break!

Mid-day we left the park and had a picnic lunch at the Mediterranean Garden, situated next to Butchart's vast parking lot. Then we hopped into the truck and drove about 10 minutes to the other attraction of the day…the Victoria Butterfly Gardens!

I've been to a captive butterfly exhibit once before when Steve and I visited one at the local county fair. The experience surprised me and left me feeling totally delighted because it was so much better than I ever expected. (Here is a link if you'd like to see pictures from my visit to Butterfly Adventures ) Knowing that a temporary butterfly exhibit could be such fun, I was sure that Steve and I were going to have an incredible time at a year-round establishment…and I couldn't wait!!

Entering the building, the warm, humid air threatened to fog up my glasses and I began to wiggle with excitement. We were greeted warmly as we paid our entry fee and soon pulled open a glass door to slip into their new exhibit, the Insectarium.

Do you know what a leaf-cutter ant is? Steve and I were lucky enough to see them when we went to Costa Rica many years ago and I remember how transfixed we were while we watched them carrying bits of leaves along a trail that went on and on, disappearing into the forest and out of sight.

The second I stepped inside the Insectarium I was faced with what reminded me of the world's biggest ant farm! Measuring about six-feet tall and long, it was about two feet wide and made of clear glass. Inside was a colony of leafcutter ants and they were busy! A steady stream was carrying large pieces of leaves along a branch and eventually into their nest which we had a view of as well. I was totally transfixed by the show and did my best to take pictures but the lighting was dim and I was using my older Canon 5D Mark II so the results were mostly garbage (This otherwise incredible camera isn't fantastic in low-light situations if you want to do macro...too much grain!). I did manage to get one picture to share so you get an idea of what we saw. I could have watched for an hour but there were other exhibits to see and Steve was finally successful at peeling me away from the ants.

Only to find the next display full of the largest stick bugs I'd ever seen! They were so cool as they stood motionless and nearly invisible with their exceptional camouflage. What fun to see them up close. Steve pointed out a baby one so small it was climbing on the leg of one that was more than 10x its size! Sadly my pictures didn't turn out but maybe Steve's pictures did, in which case I'll post one at some point down the road. Suffice to say, it was really cute!

The insectarium had metallic-colored insects too, which seemed made of plastic they were so bright and shiny! There were all sorts of other insects, arachnids and other creepy-crawlies to see as well. I took lots of pictures with the hopes that at least a few would come out and that was a good idea. Most were garbage but I did get a few to share today!

Today's Pictures
Today's main picture was taken shortly after Steve and I entered the enormous butterfly exhibit. I'll tell you more about that wondrous place in my next post but for now just trust me when I say that it was incredible! :) The butterfly I captured was sitting on a leaf near the entrance and I was so happy to discover the picture turned out so well. I don't know what species it is though…if you've got a name for me I would love it!

Inset 1: This is a Malaysian Wood Nymph stick insect! (Thank you, Maeluk, for positive identification of this insect!) Looking through all of my Insectarium pictures, I was delighted to find this one with its shallow dof and cool bokeh. Just enough focus to work, hooray!

Inset 2: This was the only leafcutter ant picture that came out well enough to share…the depth of field is just a bit too shallow, what a shame! You can see its impressive spines though, how cool is that? These ants are found in Central and South America and to my utter surprise, as far north as Texas, Arizona, western Louisiana and southern California! Interestingly, the high altitude of New Mexico does not support this normally tropics-based ant.

Inset 3: A pair of amorous metallic-green beetles of unknown species. I spent some time trying to identify these two but I had no luck. If I'd been clever, I'd have taken a picture of the signs on the insect displays but it didn't even cross my mind! Boo!

Inset 4: This is a praying mantis that looks a lot like a stick bug! I'm not sure what species It is, maybe a Ghost Mantis but I don't know…the head's not right for that one.

Inset 5: When Steve and I entered the butterfly exhibit, we saw a building that was brimming with dozens of developing cocoons in all stages. Butterflies were in the process of hatching, drying their wings and crawling around the enclosure. The facility has as many as 70 species on display and unfortunately they didn't have identification of many butterflies I got pictures of.

Inset 6: This is a close-up of some of the cocoons that were developing…aren't they cool?!

Inset 7: This is a view of one of the butterfly feeding stations. They placed sliced fruit of many kinds on a table and the butterflies were ravenous for the offerings!

Inset 8: I wish I'd thought to have Steve stand next to these leaves so you could see how ginormous they are. The larger of the two was probably as tall as I am (5'4" or 64")!! I knew they grew very large in the wild but I don't remember ever seeing plants like this grown in an exhibit!

Inset 9: These are Golden Trumpet Vine blossoms which grew on a huge vining bush!

Inset 10: A dainty purple blossom of the bromeliad, "Neoregelia carolinae ‘Tricolor’"

Pam, I don't know what your feelings are about insects other than those that land on flowers but I am going to bet that you'd go hoggggggggg-wild over the Insectarium exhibit that Steve and I saw at the Butterfly Gardens. It was hilarious to listen to other folks coming through. They simply could not keep their voices down because they were all so blown away at everything they saw. It made me giggle, but at the same time, I was busy oohing and ahhing myself! Talk about being transformed into a little kid, that place was incredible! Here's hoping that you're feeling a little better today…*BIG WARM HUGS*

Explored on 10/28/19; highest placement #6.

appo-fam, sunlight, Dean Morley (on and off), Loule and 54 other people have particularly liked this photo

37 comments - The latest ones
 Pam J
Pam J club




8 months ago.
Kawasirius club
Superbe travail avec ces macros sur les insectes ! Belles images avec de fins détails !
Je vous souhaite une bonne semaine, Janet !
8 months ago.
neira-Dan club
wow !! Superbe macro !!
8 months ago.
ROL/Photo club
OHHH Yes .....vevy beautiful this butterfly
thanks for my group...
ave a nice Week Janet
8 months ago.
 Jaap van 't Veen
Jaap van 't Veen club
What are youdoing Janet !!
This is just crazy, such beautiful macro's !!
What a beautiful colours and details.
8 months ago.
Excellentes **********
8 months ago.
 William Sutherland
William Sutherland club
Amazing series!

Admired in:
8 months ago.
Ruesterstaude club
Wieder eine ganz hervorragende Serie, Janet, das Inset 3 ist mein Favorit!
Viele Grüße!
8 months ago.
 Eunice Perkins
Eunice Perkins club
Fabulous group of photos. I absolutely love those green beetles and the leaf-like mantis!!
8 months ago.
 Thorsten (T.S-B.)
Thorsten (T.S-B.) club
Wow Janet, what a great serie! My Favs are PiP No. 1 and 4.
8 months ago.
Annemarie club
8 months ago.
 Ulrich John
Ulrich John club
Fantastic, Janet !
8 months ago.
 Malik Raoulda
Malik Raoulda club
C'est vrai qu'on s'en lasse pas d'admirer tes merveilles aussi belles et diversifiees..!
Bonne et heureuse semaine.
8 months ago.
Maeluk club
Inset one Janet try a Malasian wood nymph stick insect. I like butterfly houses and I visit one at my local zoo. I do have to be careful though, the humidity can be hard on a camera. I have enjoyed looking at the pips.
8 months ago. Edited 8 months ago.
 Nora Caracci
Nora Caracci club
such a beautiful capture, greatly focused !
8 months ago.
 John Cass
John Cass club
Beautiful capture, wonderful PiP's
8 months ago.
Thérèse club
Très joli papillon !
8 months ago.
 Keith Burton
Keith Burton club
Not too much time for lengthy comments tonight as we're packing for a week away visiting family in Exmouth.

So, I love the main image.........spot on focus and depth of field with super details.........and the most wonderful smooooooth background.

Special mentions for insets numbers 1,3,6 &7.......but they're all brilliant. My overall fave is number 6, the cocoons look like a row of multi-coloured Xmas lights..!!

Enjoy your week Janet............I'll catch up when I get back :-)
8 months ago.
 Jenny McIntyre
Jenny McIntyre club
What amazing photos, Janet. I really love the Malaysian wood nymph, it's an incredible picture. I'm not in the least surprised you were fascinated with this amazing insectarium. I've had a few of those philodendron plants before, but we called them "Swiss cheese plants". They did grow very well, but not as well as in the wild. As for those pupas - they look like little babies swinging away, unbelievable. A wonderful place indeed to visit.
8 months ago.
 Dominique 60
Dominique 60 club
quelle serie remarquable janet !!
8 months ago.
 Nicole Merdrignac
Nicole Merdrignac club
Magnifiques photo et notes. Nicole.
8 months ago.
uwschu club
ehr schöne Serie, Janet!
8 months ago.
 Boarischa Krautmo
Boarischa Krautmo club
wonderful series of makro shots!
8 months ago.
 Roger (Grisly)
Roger (Grisly) club
Wonderful close up series with amazing colors Janet
8 months ago.
 Peter Castell
Peter Castell club
A wonderful set of images Janet
8 months ago.
 Horizon 36
Horizon 36 club
Awesome capture, well done Janet.
8 months ago.
 Richard Nuttall
Richard Nuttall club
A very fine series Janet , I do enjoy seeing your images
8 months ago.
 Betty JW
Betty JW club
8 months ago.
 Claudia G
Claudia G club
Un beau papillon capturé !
8 months ago.
bonsai59 club
Tolle Serie! TOP
8 months ago.
Nouchetdu38 club
A breathtaking series: a beautiful tribute to Mother Nature!*************
8 months ago.
tiabunna club
A marvellous series, Janet. I can imagine that Steve would have needed a team of wild horses to drag you and your macro lens away from all that exciting subject matter.:-)
8 months ago.
RHH club
This is marvelous, Janet, with that hint of color on the wings. Love the dof, too, that has the back wing with its color out of focus. I would have a hard time picking a favorite, though, from all of these, especially the insect photos. Love that shot with the three butterflies, but those metallic green beetles are amazing, too.

Thanks for all your comments on the photos from Summer Lake. If you ever go there let me know first. I can give you some pointers that will help getting out on the floating bog and can tell you what time to go if you want to see the different species in flower or if you want cranberries, or if.....

As to poaching plants, that is a real problem everywhere. I no longer give anyone information on where to find native orchids since people have poached some species to point of extinction. Washington has only a couple sites left, for example, of the Yellow Lady's Slipper and they used to be very common. A shame.

There were even reports of orientals coming just to poach plants and ship them back. Not a new problem, however. The 19th century saw millions of plants (shiploads) sent back to England and the continent. The horrible thing is that most of them are not even amenable to home culture but require a soil fungus to grow and will simply die if moved.
8 months ago.
micritter club
All are magnificent photos.
8 months ago.
 Trudy Tuinstra
Trudy Tuinstra club
8 months ago.
 Dean Morley (on and off)
Dean Morley (on and… club
What a superb collection of wonderful images, Janet. :-) My favourites are the main pic of that gorgeous butterfly, the leaf cutter ant at work, the butterflies feeding on the fruit, the saucy green beetles with their lovely metallic green and the pretty little bromeliad blossom. :-) Thanks for sharing these lovely photos. :-)
7 months ago.
sunlight club
Great ! *******
7 months ago.

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