Bermuda’s Flying Flowers
The Seven Resident Butterflies of Bermuda
The world of butterflies is a gateway through which one might stop to begin the journey of learning about the wonders of nature.
In this photographic exploration of Bermuda’s butterflies and their life cycles, Ras Mykkal takes us by the hand and through that gate, starting us on our journey of wonder, excitement and learning. Those of you who know Ras for his expertise in sports photography might wonder how he came to produce this book of photographs of Bermuda’s butterflies.
Ras is the first to admit that the traditional academic path of school and book-learning was not for him; his interest was off-road motorcycle racing (Motocross). Once out of school, his interests developed and he became a professional photographer and poet. His photography focused on sports but was not limited to that subject.
One morning, while taking photographs in the Butterfly Garden in the Botanical Gardens, Ras had a chance encounter with a staff member (Steve Burgess) who suggested he talk to Claire Jessey, entomologist at the Department of Environmental Protection. He did and, as he says, his ‘fascination with butterflies took off’. Photographing butterflies soon became a passion for Ras and developed into a project to document their lives. That project became this book.
He realized that in order to take better photographs he needed to understand more than just the butterflies and their caterpillars, he needed to know the plants they visited, and which were the host plants for their eggs and food for their caterpillars.
Ras quickly learned which plants Bermuda’s butterflies lay their eggs on but was not satisfied with just hoping to stumble across what he needed to photograph. He decided to grow the host plants in his own garden and then watched and waited patiently for the perfect opportunity to capture the images he needed.
Through his persistence, patience, enthusiasm, inquisitiveness and energy, Ras’ interest combined with his beautiful photographs, have developed into a wonderful teaching tool. I have learned much from him and his pursuit of the butterflies – and I’m sure you
Butterflies are beautiful, like flying jewels, but they also have an important role in the web of life. Not only are they a source of food for birds, toads, and other animals but they are pollinators as well. Through protecting our butterflies we will also protect the plants and animals connected to them and, in turn, support Bermuda’s biodiversity.
I am sure that Ras, with this book, will inspire generations to come to look more closely at our butterflies, to plant gardens and provide habitat that attract and support them, our own “flying jewels”.
-Forward By Lisa Greene for Bermuda’s Flying Flowers