Monarch butterflies on Butterfly Bush (white)

During a photowalk through Milway Meadows, a residential community in Fairfax County, Virginia USA, I spotted several Monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) feeding on the white flowers of a Butterfly Bush (Buddleja sp.). I have never seen so many Monarchs in one location — I estimate anywhere from six- to 10 butterflies were feeding on the same bush! I wonder whether the butterflies I saw were part of a larger group migrating south for the winter.

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The preceding gallery features copies of the original photos (shown below) that were cropped and adjusted using Apple Aperture. Photos 11 and 12 were annotated using Apple Preview in order to highlight one or more butterflies that you may have overlooked. The photos in both galleries appear in the same sequence.

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Tech Tips: The gallery (shown above) features some of the better photos from a batch I shot using my Apple iPhone 3GS after cell phone service was de-activated. (I just upgraded to an iPhone 4.) I was curious to know whether the de-activated 3GS would still geotag photos taken using its built-in camera. As it turns out, the de-activated iPhone 3GS (essentially the same as an iPod touch) did in fact geotag all of my photos. The accuracy wasn’t as good as usual (for details, see “The ABCs of A-GPS“), except in the case of the photos I shot while standing in the same place for a long time — I guess the phone’s GPS chip was able to get a better position fix when I was stationary for a while. I used Apple “Aperture,” a professional-grade tool for organizing and adjusting photos, to geolocate all of the photos correctly during post-processing.

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