Monday, December 22, 2014

Monarchs of winter

Many times in 2014 I've bemoaned the absence of Monarch butterflies from my garden. Their visits have been few and far between. Lately though, and somewhat surprisingly, there seems to have been an uptick in their numbers.

I often see them visiting the late blooms that still hang on in the garden here in late December.

And just this week, I was surprised to see a mating pair in united flight across my backyard. I followed their flight and watched them land high in a limb of my next door neighbor's pine tree.

You can just see them tucked in among the pine needles here. They remained there for at least an hour.

But elsewhere in the garden there was evidence of other Monarch pairings. Checking out some of the milkweed that is still in bloom, there was evidence that it had been munched, but I didn't see the caterpillars that had done it. Then I looked at the fence/screen behind the bed where the milkweed lives and there they were - three fat caterpillars!

Not only were they taking a walk on the fence, but the pellets of poop were proof they had been there for a while. 

I wondered if perhaps they were looking for a place to pupate, although they did not look quite fully grown.

Apparently, they were just enjoying a morning stroll before getting down to the business of eating their way through the milkweed once again, because when I went back to check on them later in the day, they were back on the plant, happily having their lunch.

  
It was heartening to see this evidence of Monarch fertility. May their tribe continue to increase.


4 comments:

  1. They're flying around my garden too, but don't see any caterpillars yet.

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    Replies
    1. Keep watching. They'll probably show up soon.

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  2. I've been trying forever to get good pictures of butterflies but I just can't catch them standing still.

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    Replies
    1. I've learned to just go ahead and snap away. I get some unusable shots but often there are a few "keepers" among them.

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