Not many butterflies appeared in Milwaukee this spring and summer. I
have seen more now that it is fall. So in a quest to see more butterflies, my
husband and I went on a short trip.
Our first stop was the Olbrich Botanical
Gardens in Madison, WI. They have 14 acres of specialty gardens and a
pyramid-shaped conservatory filled with tropical plants. It looks like they have
been working on a butterfly habitat area. We saw the usual monarchs and cabbage
whites, but I also found a Buckeye! I have never seen one in the wild before. A
note inside the conservatory stated "The Butterflies are coming". And
so I must return next year to check it out.
On Highway 35 just west of Lancaster, WI, there were some small patches
of roadside wildflowers. I do not know what the flowers were; however, it
attracted an amazing amount of whites and yellows in such a small, compact area.
Further along Highway 35 following the Mississippi River, we stopped at
Perrot State Park near Trempealeau, WI. Up the 500' bluffs we climbed. Along the
way, we found a hackleberry butterfly resting on one of the guardrails. I didn't
have my camera with me, but what a view at the top.
One of the main stops of the trip was the Minneapolis Zoo. They have a
butterfly exhibit that was open from Father's Day through Labor Day. We stopped
there just three days shy of Labor Day. They have a backyard garden area that
attracts butterflies and also a greenhouse shaped area covered with canvas.
Since it was the end of the season, the butterfly species they had was limited,
but there were many monarchs. In fact, the monarchs favored one area as a
roosting area. Also, they were attracted to Mexican sunflowers.
We found cabbage
whites, commas, and swallowtails there. They also were raising Cecropia moth
caterpillars; an area was dedicated to pupas. The exhibit will return next year.
These butterflies will not be released into the wild, so the delicate ecosystem
will not be bothered.
This has fulfilled my quest before our seemingly long, cold winter