Early risers usually get to see the best nature has to offer. This holds true for a lot of insects like butterflies and dragonflies. During the heat of the day, these creatures are very active and are hard to get a good glimpse where they are sitting still.
If you are up at sunrise, make it a point to take a stroll through the prairie or your flower garden. On summer mornings when temperatures are cool, butterflies and dragonflies often can be found sitting still, waiting to start their day. Usually, they are sluggish and are more than accommodating for a portrait that otherwise would be quite the challenge later in the day.
I had such a morning this week at Kankakee Sands in Indiana. We were out early doing some vegetation monitoring, and the temperature was cool. Walking around among the grasses and flowers, I got within a foot of an eastern tailed blue butterfly, an American lady butterfly, a widow skimmer dragonfly, a Halloween pennant dragonfly, a confused eusaraca moth and a northern walking stick.
All were just hanging out peacefully as I walked by, which allowed me to get a few inches away and close enough to use my cellphone camera, which would never happen normally.
Pictured is the American lady butterfly I saw that day. This butterfly is similar to the Painted Lady butterfly in our area. A quick ID tip you can see is the white dot within the yellow of the fore wing.
My Butterflies of Indiana Field Guide also says the row of hind wing spots are usually blurred together, while distinctly separated on the Painted Lady. I prefer to look for the white dot when looking topside.