Float Like a Butterfly, Sting Like a Bee

Float Like a Butterfly Sting Like a Bee

Float Like a Butterfly, Sting Like a Bee, photo by Kristina Austin Scarcelli

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.
His hand can’t hit what his eyes can’t see.
Now you see me, now you don’t.
George thinks he will, but I know he won’t.
-Muhammad Ali

As you almost certainly know, Muhammad Ali passed away over the weekend. You may not know that Ali and his family lived in Berrien Springs, Michigan for years after his retirement from boxing.

Mitch Albom has a nice column about Ali’s unique blend of ego, principles, and deep compassion:

Let there be no argument. The man who just died was the most famous face on Earth. I contend he still is. Name a rock star, athlete or politician whose visage is instantly as recognizable in a New York boardroom, an African village or a Bedouin tent. We’ll save you time. There is no one. And remember, Ali achieved such worldwide fame without computers, without Internet, without DVRs or YouTube.

He did it through the magnificence of his boxing, the magnitude of his personality, and the causes he championed at a time when sitting down was more common than standing up.

…High-profile athletes rarely took such stances and certainly not with such consequences. It was a mark of Ali’s sense of principle and perspective (he famously claimed that the Vietnamese never called him the N-word, never put dogs on him, never lynched him, etc.) that while many Americans — and understandably, Vietnam vets who did go and fight — reviled him during those years, most have come around on him in time. I believe it is because he never wavered. He took his punishment. And he showed, in his later years, that his anti-Vietnam stance wasn’t a singular moment. He did things on principle for decades. He stood up for poor people. He was a civil rights advocate and champion. He gave a voice to young African-Americans in the 1960s and a hero to their children in all the years that followed. He also raised tens of millions to fight disease.

Read on for lots more at the Freep.

Kristin caught this bumblebee and a monarch butterfly sharing a snack at the National Wildlife Refuge in Seney. See her photo background big, view more in her Scenic Michigan slideshow, and visit her website at KristinaScarcelli.com.

Monarch & Sunflower

IMG_3378 (3) Monarch on sunflower
Monarch on sunflower, photo by jgagnon63@yahoo.com

The Michigan DNR page on Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus) says:

Often called the Milkweed Butterfly, this large black veined orange winged butterfly can be observed feeding on milkweed. During its mating behavior, the adult male monarch will display a “courtship dance.” Perching on the tips of the milkweed, it will fly to other large butterflies to see if one is a female monarch; if it is, they will fly together in a fast, darting flight, lasting up to a minute and covering many yards and to a height of 100 feet.

As fall approaches, the monarchs can be seen in large numbers migrating along the Great Lakes shorelines enroute to Mexico and Central America.

Monarch butterfly populations have been declining in Michigan for the last decade, and it appears that last winter was another tough blow for this beleaguered beauty. You can learn a lot more about Monarch butterflies and how to help protect them at Monarch Watch.

View jgagnon’s photo background bigalicious and see more in his slideshow.

Birthday Butterfly for the Grand Hotel

Grand Hotel Birthday Butterfly

Grand Hotel Butterfly, photo by Alicia Bock

Today is the 127th birthday of the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. You can check out the Hotel’s historic photo gallery or if you want to roll with the times, the Grand Hotel Instagram.

View Alicia’s photo bigger, see more in her Mackinac slideshow and view and purchase more in the Mackinac Magic photo gallery on her photography website.

More about the Grand Hotel on Michigan in Pictures.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly (Saline, Michigan)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly (Saline, Michigan), photo by cseeman

The University of Michigan Animal Diversity Web entry for the eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly (Papilio glaucus) says in part:

The eastern tiger swallowtail ranges from Alaska and the Hudsonian zone of Canada to the southern United States, east of the Rocky Mountains.

This species occurs in nearly every area where deciduous woods are present, including towns and cities. It is most numerous along streams and river, and in wooded swamps.

As with most butterflies, Eastern tiger swallowtails tend to be solitary. Males “patrol” for a mate, flying from place to place actively searching for females. “Patrolling” male tiger swallowtails can recognize areas of high moisture absorbtion by the sodium ion concentration of the area. It is believed that the moisture found by these males helps cool them by initiating an active-transport pump. Both male and female tiger swallowtails are known to be high fliers. Groups of fifty butterflies have been spotted in Maryland flying 50 meters high, around the tops of tulip trees.

The tiger swallowtail is thought of as the American insect, in much the same way as the Bald Eagle is thought of as the American bird. It was the first American insect pictured in Europe; a drawing was sent to England from Sir Walter Raleighs’ third expedition to Virginia.

You can read on for more including photos. I also found a page with a listing of Michigan butterflies and apparently we have eight species of swallowtail butterfly. You can also see some great eastern swallowtail photos from Butterflies & Moths. Spoiler alert: the female can look a lot different.

Corey writes that he got this shot at the butterfly bush he planted this year. Check it out background big and see more great shots of this fellow in his butterfly slideshow.