Canada is a Wildlife Wonder with Toronto’s Mourning Cloak Butterfly

Mourning Cloak Butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow in Toronto Canada

Toronto, Canada. I was visiting Toronto which is clean, welcoming and beautiful. Along with my wide angle lens, I often bring along my Macro- lens on trips which include photography. I try to keep my Canon camera as busy as possible, and I ask around if there are any nearby parks in the city, parks that might host a population of butterflies. Yes, I was told, why don’t you drive to West Don Park? It is an easy 10 minute drive from my hosts. I was blessed with light traffic and courteous drivers. My Pennsylvania license plates provided me with quite a bit of latitude once it was noted that I was a visitor.

West Don Park? Bingo! A gold mine of butterflies that particular week in mid-July.

In Western Pennsylvania I encounter Nymphalis Antiopa infrequently in the spring and even less often in the fall months. Often, the individual butterflies I see are worn and show evidence of failed attacks from predators. This morning in West Don was sunny, no wind and milkweed (Asclepias Syriaca) was in bloom. Three Mourning Cloak butterflies were eating nectar on a single milkweed plant. OMG! Back home I rarely see them nectaring, and those that I do approach, flee once I am within ten feet. Nymphalis Antiopa in Toronto allowed me to approach and photograph from just 18 inches away, and they were sizable butterflies. My heart must have been pounding! I was in a heaven of Mourning Cloak butterflies.

These butterflies had fresh colors and an absence of  significant wing damage. Their colors were a rich, rich maroon; carribean islands blue, and sunflower yellow. This image captures many of those striking hues.

Is this a candidate for being my favorite butterfly? I answer with a sheepish y-e-s. Our two earlier Mourning cloak posts do hint at my little secret.

Canada is the wildlife wonder that I long understood you to be. Mourning Cloaks photographed while eating nectar. Can you imagine?

August will soon be upon us. Can our Canadian followers suggest a suitable park, with a rich butterfly population, that is within driving distance of Pittsburgh, Pa?  Toronto was a 6.5 hours drive.


4 thoughts on “Canada is a Wildlife Wonder with Toronto’s Mourning Cloak Butterfly

  1. Thank you for visiting my site. Your pictures are beautiful and you are so knowledgeable. I’d love to pick your brains1 I have always loved butterfly’s and photographing them and also for what they symbolize-as you could tell by my poem. I look forward to many visits to your page.


  2. Glad your Toronto experience was a good one. Driving on the Don Valley Parkway at certain times of day can be imagined by knowing it’s nickname: Don Valley Parking Lot. Not sure was distance is okay with you. Last summer I had Wonderful butterfly experiences at Pinery Provincial Park, North of Sarnia, Ontario. I have wonderful photos and videos. Had a Pearly Crescent trapped in my car…opened window & offered my finger…it climbed on, and visited for around 10 minutes. It was a Super hot day & I think it was enjoying the salt on my skin. Filmed & photographed a Red-Spotted Purple from 2 – 3 feet for at least 15 minutes as it dined (or it looked like it) on a pile of ashes someone had dumped out of a barbeque or hibachi. And had the most Wonderful Hours of hanging out with numerous Northern Pearly Eyes in one particular vacated Group Camping area. Nobody but my husband & daughter were around. The NPE’s were Very Kath-friendly. They knew I was there & were quite comfortable with me being 2-3 feet from them for long periods of time. I have photos of me offering my finger & one of these beautiful creatures was ‘cool’ with having it 2″ from it ! Pretty exciting! I also saw various extremely interesting caterpillars – took pics of them too. Feel free to email me if you’d like to ask any questions or see the pictures. :-) Kath


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