The Butterfly WebSite

Field Trip - Wisconsin
Susan C. Allie: September 22, 1998

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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 begins.

Below are some photos of my trip. I hope that you enjoy them.

This is the Buckeye we saw at the Olbrich Botanical Gardens.

On one specific corner of the window, Monarchs gather to roost in the sun.

Here are some Monarchs resting on a Mexican sunflower.

Sitting atop of this flower are two Commas.

This is a common Swallowtail. It is definitely not camera-shy.

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