Monarchs are probably my favorite butterfly. I'm sure there are prettier I could choose, but there's more to it than that. I like them because they're locals, and they just look like they're cruzin' for a good time when they're flying. They really belong in Santa Cruz.
This photo was taken with my 100mm f/2.8 macro lens, which lets me get as close as 1 foot to the subject... that's one foot from the plane of the sensor. The lens is about 6 inches long, so the front of my lens was about 6 inches from this butterfly. He didn't seem to care. ECCO has this lovely butterfly bush that the critters just adore. I parked myself in the middle of it and wait for what comes. I'll post a few more shots of the various critters who were partaking of this butterfly bush. One morning, I was visited by the most perfect huge butterfly (this one). That afternoon, I was visited by one that was considerably beat up. Could have been the same one, I suppose, if he ran into an uninformed bird.
Birds will sometimes go after a monarch, but only once. Monarchs, being poisonous, don't taste very good to birds. They're unlikely to kill a bird, but the bird will probably avoid large orange-and-black butterflies from then on.