Rare Sightings in Nature: Weekly Photo Challenge

At the critical moment it is the rare few who can do what needs to be done.”




This week my husband and I returned to Kiawah after our summer adventures.  As always, it was great to travel and just as great to get home! Soon after our return my neighbor called to invite me to photograph the gorgeously-colored monarch caterpillars (technically called larvae) which had taken up residence on her parsley plant. These little creatures are true eating machines, bulking up in preparation for their time in their chrysalis stage.  Sadly, monarch sightings are becoming more rare every year. Scientists have noted their numbers have dropped 10-fold in the last decade.



“They’re so rare, those hearts that carry the blessing and lavish it over everything.”


We all know the American Alligator is NOT rare. However, it is (happily) rare to find one in your backyard. Yep, this guy was sitting in our back yard earlier this morning. Perhaps he just came by to welcome us home. 😀 And yes, I was using a 200mm zoom lens to capture him. Our local gators do not typically attack humans but I see no reason to test that theory!



“Everybody talks, nobody listens. Good listeners are as rare as white crows.”

Helen Keller

Kiawah is known to have otters but as far as I know we do NOT have beavers. I captured this guy in our travels when I should have been paying more attention to my golf game. Combining photography with golf isn’t particularly good for scoring but it does add a different element of interest to the sport.  As for rarity, the beaver is another species on the decline, with numbers estimated to have dropped from 60 million to less than 12 million. Especially in my neck of the woods, beavers are a rare sighting indeed.

Have a great week everyone, and as always, thanks to Ben for his interesting challenge.



94 thoughts on “Rare Sightings in Nature: Weekly Photo Challenge

  1. Your first photo is an absolute winner ~ crisp and colorful, and should be entered into a competition as the lighting/contrast from the top right to bottom left makes it pop. Your second shot surprised me perhaps as much as it did you…a contrast of characters from larvae to man-eater was quite drastic 🙂

  2. The monarch caterpillar is quite a beauty – just look at that colour:) Not sure I would be very happy to wake up with an alligator in my back yard, but fortunately that wound happen here, unless they convert to like ice and snow anytime soon:)

  3. Wow! So beautiful! My photography extends to my iphone and instagram. That’s about it. I always love seeing what others can capture in such beautiful and creative ways. I try to capture the world around me with words: through poetry, essays, short stories, etc. It’s always amazing to me how we can capture and try to preserve moments in so many different ways.

  4. I haven’t been able to work out the camera on the golf course with a good score yet either but I still bring it along sometimes…lol. Like the alligator shot Tina and I’m glad to hear you used a zoom. 🙂

  5. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Rare | stenoodie

  6. It’s always great to be home after travelling, however memorable the trip may be. However having an alligator there to welcome you must have been a first. None here in the Pacific North West fortunately. Have a great week 🙂

  7. what a FUN post!!! I love all of these shots especially your neighbors ‘larvae’…..the details are stunning!!! so enjoyed!!!! welcome home!!!😜

  8. Amazing pictures, Tina. The caterpillar is beautiful. What a shame they are becoming rare. I see it was an exciting day with your visitors 😉

  9. At least Mr. A took time to smile for his photo. 🙂

    The last time I saw a Monarch was when I was a kid, and that was very long ago. These days, we see plenty of Painted Lady butterflies which is often mistaken for Monarchs.

  10. A gator in your backyard would certainly be a rarity in my neck of the woods. These are wonderful pictures as ever Tina and a very interesting post to read. It’s so sad to see so much of our natural wildlife and environment under stress in the way that it is. We really need to do more but sadly the share price of the multi-nationals is king and that means cutting costs and that means damaging the environment in the pursuit of profit rather than caring for it.

    • Thanks Adrian. Agree whole-heartedly with your comments about our natural environment and its wildlife. At least here on Kiawah there is tremendous focus on it. We’re in the midst of quite a legal battle over the area where our dolphins strand-feed. It’s been an interesting fight which after several years seems nowhere near ending! >

  11. So thoughtful of your neighbour to invite you over to photograph the monarch caterpillars. Very clean shot and it looked like you captured it mid-crawl. It boasts very stunning colours, very nice outfit 😀

    Love the quote by Helen Keller. Don’t we all like to talk as we all have an opinion and something to say. Then again, when we listen we reflect and think more, and so learn so much more. Always love how you pair your images with such wise sayings 🙂

  12. Pingback: Rare (Shoe) | What's (in) the picture?

  13. I guess the rarity of alligator in the yard depends upon where you live. Here in Naperville, Illinois, it would be a miracle; in Florida, not so much. 🙂 I love that first shot in particular and the hidden beaver as well.


    • Thanks Janet – yes I think you’re right. It would be news-media-worth if you’d see one in Illinois. Here on Kiawah they only make the news if they show up in the suburbs, and only then if they’re monstrously large! >

  14. It warms my heart that you saw the caterpillar stage of the monarch. If we get more than a few this autumn, I still will be happy to see them. WE need to spread the word to plant milkweed that is their number one plant of choice. More than that there is a worldwide effort to assist their return. To an extent it seems to be working; I hope that “they” are correct.

    • Thanks Sally. Sadly I’ve since learned they are not monarchs. Although they are virtually identical at that stage, monarchs do not eat parsley. They are swallowtails. But yes, many folks here are planting milkweed for the monarchs and hopefully their decline can be reversed worldwide. >

  15. Great photos Tina. Glad you kept your distance on the alligator. I had to smile your comment regarding photography and golf. I don’t play golf – but I do attempt to take photos while bike riding. It makes for an interesting experience.

Please Tell Me What You Think!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: