IN THE FIELD: PREHISTORIC OASIS

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While visiting a local arboretum a few weeks ago, I spent a good part of my time in the shade of enormous trees. It was a rather warm day and the coolness of the woods was a welcome relief from the hot sun.

I had never visited this arboretum before and was looking forward to the experience. I am familiar with many of the species of trees growing there, and even some of the understory shrubs. Although, I learned of many species entirely new to me.

Some of the plants and trees have prehistoric origins, so I was not surprised to find everything seemed to be of extraordinary size. I think that is what drew these butterflies to the area. And they certainly looked right at home. I had never seen such a large grouping of butterflies in one location and never would have believed they grow this large. I am not kidding when I say that I would estimate their wingspan to be at least four feet. Maybe more.

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  1. July 14, 2013 at 11:22 am

    Four feet?! OH. Even I didn’t know that. GREAT catch, David. :)

    Actually, this pic confused me at first. I first thought that it’s a tiny thin tree. But whatever, these butterflies are huge! Like birds? or may be bigger?

    • July 14, 2013 at 3:54 pm

      Ok I’ll tell the truth…these butterflies are I guess what you would call garden sculpture? They are either made of painted metal or plastic. They are close to the visiter center of the arboretum.

  2. July 14, 2013 at 11:25 am

    It’s been ten minutes I guess. And I still can’t believe what I am looking at. HOW AMAZING IS NATURE.

    • July 14, 2013 at 3:56 pm

      When I fist saw them I stopped in my tracks! Then I realized after seeing the GIANT watering cans and other sculptures what was going on. Sorry…I just couldn’t resist puling a fast one on everyone. They are pretty cool though aren’t they?

  3. July 14, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    Those are Monarch butterflies, which are usually not very large. Where was this picture taken? I’m curious. Thanks for sharing.

    • July 14, 2013 at 4:01 pm

      Hi Marcy, they sure are Monarchs…but of the man-made species. I think they are made of metal or fiberglass or maybe even plastic. Sorry for the deception but I couldn’t resist. This shot and the previous arboretum photos (June 27th) were taken at the Jenkins Arboretum in Devon Pa. It’s truly a wonderful place to visit especially since it is in a very suburban area. The trees in the forest are enormous and probably 100+ years old. Thanks for the visit and the follow!

  4. July 14, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    Butterfly-zillas!!!! :)

    • July 14, 2013 at 4:05 pm

      Giganticus momothiticus to be exact. When I saw these at the arboretum I had to get a shot or two…with a post like this in mind. Aren’t hey cool? I hoped I would get a chuckle from everyone. They sure look real don’t they? Oh yeah…no kidding here…the tree in the foreground is probably 4-5 feet in diameter. And that’s a small one. It’s an Eastern Red Oak.

      • July 14, 2013 at 4:31 pm

        They grow them big in your neck of the woods, huh? :)

      • July 15, 2013 at 8:57 am

        Texas isn’t the only place where everything is big!

  5. July 14, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    I have got to admit that the first glance at this pic had both Colin and me riveted to the screen!! :D I’m hoping you snatched yourself from the jaws of the T-Rex so that you can post the sequel!

    • July 14, 2013 at 4:14 pm

      Sorry but I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity for a post like this. In the gardens next to the visitor center were a couple of giant watering cans. Remember this post?

      http://dhphotosite.wordpress.com/2012/03/12/in-the-field-scouting-a-location-2/

      Then I entered the forest and saw the butterflies and it all came together. My Aunt is the president of the arboretum, so now I know where the giant watering can came from. I bet she saw the butterflies somewhere and said we have got to have some of them to put in the trees. The rest of the arboretum is is completely natural with paths meandering through the gardens with benches here and there to rest from the hilly terrain. The only sounds to be heard are birds and chirps from chipmunks with woodland plants and flowers everywhere.
      http://www.jenkinsarboretum.org

  6. July 15, 2013 at 12:47 am

    Oh David, I knew you were pulling our legs!

    • July 15, 2013 at 8:52 am

      Run away run away…..sorry…I couldn’t help myself. Bad David.

  7. July 15, 2013 at 5:01 am

    Once I have seen them in Rhodos Island there was a butterfly garden… and now this is the second time… Dear David this is great photograph, fascinated me. Thanjk you, love, nia

  8. July 15, 2013 at 8:56 am

    When I saw these butterflies, I had to get a photo to share with everyone. It was a joy to see the whimsy in the gardens.

  9. July 15, 2013 at 10:31 am

    Wow, I was fooled too, like many others. Great shot! A sense of humor goes a long way today! Cheers!!

  10. July 15, 2013 at 10:39 am

    Unfortunately or maybe fortunately there is really nothing in the photo to give a size relationship. Bad David.

  11. July 15, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    Whoa! You had me fooled, David. I was thinking, either those are giant monarchs or those are extremely dwarf trees…then I read the comments….LOL

    • July 15, 2013 at 4:25 pm

      Ya know….I guess I could have gone either way with this one giant monarchs or dwarf trees.
      It’s funny…that was my same reaction when I saw them Whoa! That’s cool. Glad you got a kick out of this one!

  12. July 15, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    Oh what fun! Aren’t they pretty?! An arboretum I like to visit does similar things. You can be walking around the grassy paths when all of a sudden a sheep made out of iron will greet you, or a sculpture will be carefully placed, or something curious will be hanging in a tree.

    • July 15, 2013 at 4:29 pm

      Aren’t they the neatest? Honestly, they are probably about 3 feet long if not a bit more. I like when arboretums add a bit of whimsy. Especially when there are very tailored sections. It adds a little something to keep things light and fun.

  13. July 15, 2013 at 11:23 pm

    Beware of those caterpillars!

    • July 16, 2013 at 7:57 am

      They are known for their voracious appetites!

  14. July 16, 2013 at 11:18 pm

    I’m going to echo everyone else, and say my first reaction was ‘those are some massive butterflies’! What a brilliant sculpture, well captured :)

  15. July 17, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    Thanks JP, I could feel the wind from their beating wings as they flew overhead. Kinda spooky….It is a neat sculpture…I’m curious what they are made of. Guess I’ll have to make another trip over there. Besides, the late summer flowers should be blooming soon!

  16. July 19, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    The first look made me say, WOW! I love Monarch butterflies. Then on the second and closer look, I became suspicious. Those butterflies, especially the body, looked one-dimensional. And then four-feet wingspan description…well…the butterflies could have carried me away if they were that big!
    Fun one, David! Regardless of the humor, I really like this photo!

  17. July 20, 2013 at 9:43 am

    Thanks Fergie, when I saw these I said out loud “how cool is that!” I had to get a few shots and my first thought was to do some kind of post like this. Couldn’t resist. Aren’t they cool though?

  18. July 25, 2013 at 11:38 am

    I was about to leave an OMG! comment and then saw your “fessing up” remarks. The “yolk” was on you, because you had to type so many lines of disclaimer! As amazed as I was at the (reported) size, I couldn’t figure out why they would be densely grouped around 2 trunks in approx. the same place. (Would have been a PERFECT April Fools Day post!)

  19. July 26, 2013 at 9:15 am

    Almost gotcha! Ya know….this would have been a perfect April Fools Day Post! Now you’ve got me thinking for next year…

  20. August 3, 2013 at 11:22 am

    I’d love to rest under this tree :) So beautiful, wow :)

  21. August 4, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    There were a lot of trees this size in this arboretum…and some even bigger! It was so nice and shady with woodland wildflowers blooming here and there.

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