When you live in the wilds of Wyoming, you can let your yard "go wild" and not feel too guilty about it; it does have many advantages. My back feels all the better for it, and on my fabulously, great smelling milkweed we get Monarch Butterflies (Danaus plexippus).
Up until last Wednesday I'd never found a chrysalis: I'd looked for them in vain over the years. When I wasn't searching for anything in particular to photograph on such a warm fall day....there was a chrysalis hidden under a golden milkweed leaf!
This was an opportunity too good to pass up, and now I could shoot video of a Monarch born in the Wind River Canyon. While photographing the chrysalis, a juvenile American Dipper (Cinclus mexicanus) was making it clear he wanted attention, or at least it seemed that way at the time. The creek is only ten feet away from where the chrysalis was, and he was making a racket! I had my boots on, so I hopped into the icy creek and got the best pictures ever of a Dipper.
On Thursday, I checked up on the chrysalis and nothing seemed to be happening, so I started work on the chrysalis and Dipper photos. Wow, what a beautiful, warm day in the Wind River Canyon! Maybe I should check on the chrysalis....all too late. She, and it is a female, was already out of her confinement. I ran up from the creek to get the camcorder, shot some scenes, then ran back up to the cabin to get my "finger pinching" antique tripod.
Ending with over forty 4K shots after the Sun disappeared over the rim of the canyon, it was getting cold and fast. I left the Monarch where she was for the night. In the morning the butterfly was right where I'd left her. She was getting her stout wings ready for the long migration south, which could cover "thousands of miles!" I wanted one more photo....just my beautiful, Monarch butterfly with her wings spread. Wind River Canyon Monarch ButterflyA Monarch Butterfly just out of her chrysalis in the Wind River Canyon. With over forty scenes shot in 4K video, the post-production editing was going to be a bigger job then I'd ever tackled before. It took me over six hours yesterday just to edit and compile the video! This one minute and four second "nature documentary" has twelve cuts. None of them over the ten second edit rule: Keep your edited scenes short and try and make a story out of them. Enjoy, I know I did.....the sound in the background is the cold, rushing creek. Wind River Canyon Monarch ButterflyA Monarch Butterfly just emerged from her chrysalis in the Wind River Canyon in the state of Wyoming. Around noon my little Monarch butterfly left the creek-side on her amazing trip south. I wish her all the luck in the world. This morning, Saturday, October 14th a blizzard blew into the Wind River Canyon with a vengeance; as I write this Wind River Canyon Blog the skies are clear and blue again.
The canyon is a magical place, and this is just one more wildlife story among the many I have witnessed over the years. Yet, large corporations are inadvertently killing the milkweed these Monarch butterflies must have to survive. This isn't an argument.....it is a question.
Thank you for your valuable time.
All content in this Wind River Canyon Blog, including photographs, video, and story were produced by Michael John Balog and all rights are reserved.