Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Here Come "My" Monarchs


Last September, I was elated to see my first of many Monarch butterflies that stopped by my garden to lay their eggs.  For those of my readers who have not read my Monarch butterfly pilot project, please click on this link They Are Here.  I think you will enjoy reading it.  And for those of my readers who know about my Monarch project, I am pleased to report that I watched 33 young Monarchs feasting in my garden before departing on their migration route.  It was an exhilarating experience knowing that I played a part in increasing a few Monarchs' chances of completing their journey.  Here are photos of a few of the young Monarchs that eclosed in my garden last year.









This year, my first much-anticipated visitor arrived about one month earlier than last year.  Here she is ... 


She appeared excited to find an abundance of host plants for her babies. 


These plants are asclepias curassavica, also known as tropical milkweed, scarlet milkweed, bloodflower, and silkweed.  If you want to know more about this milkweed, click here They Are Here





Pollinators also love this milkweed.






I watched my visitor feed and lay her eggs for about an hour and then she disappeared.  She didn't seem to mind my presence at all.  Most of the time, she was no more than a foot away.  Very exciting!



I saw three Monarchs that week.  I don't know whether they were all different butterflies or not.  About a week or so after my first visitor's arrival, I saw the big fella below while I was collecting seeds from a milkweed plant nearby.  It clearly was not the offspring of the Monarchs I spotted.  At about a week or so old, the offspring of the butterflies I spotted would have been too small for me to see without carefully and closely inspecting the underside of a milkweed leaf.  This meant that the first Monarch I saw was not the first visitor to my garden.  I was very excited by this discovery for two reasons: more Monarchs had visited than I realized and at least one baby Monarch will eclose soon.


A day later, I found this little guy.  He was about the size of a grain of wild rice. 


It's pretty easy to locate a plant that houses a caterpillar; you can see chew marks on the leaves and droppings (little dark green pellets) nearby.  

This little guy could be the offspring of one of the Monarchs I spotted... OR maybe of another Monarch? Fingers crossed!!!  The fact that these caterpillars were born in August (or may be as early as July), is very exciting to me.  According to what I've read, the third generation, which is born in July and August, will not migrate south for the winter.  Instead, they will stay around and give birth to the fourth generation, which will then migrate south.  I wonder whether this means my garden will host a few third-generation Monarchs for several weeks until the fourth generation is born?  Wouldn't that be fabulous?



Think about adding a milkweed plant to your garden.  Together, we can help the Monarch butterfly population. There are many types of milkweed you can choose from.  Go to monarchwatch.org/bring-back-the-monarchs/milkweeds-by-state for suggestions.  


"It is not enough to be compassionate, we must act."
               
                                                                                                                   The 14th Dalai Lama



Come visit these links with me to see fabulous photos

Macro Monday 2
Amaze Me Monday
Our World Tuesday
Tuesday Garden Party
Outdoor Wednesday
Wednesday Around the World
Image-in-ing
Today's Flowers
Floral Friday Fotos
Orange You Glad It's Friday
Saturday Critters
Through My Lens
Mosaic Monday
I Heart Macro




32 comments:

  1. Christa, this is such an interesting post, you counted 33 young Monarchs in your garden. it´s amazing. I think it´s one of the most beautiful butterflies which we don´t have in our country. I loved to follow the whole process and what concerns the tropical milkweed, the Asclepia curassavica, on one of our holidays I collected seed of this plant and sowed it in our garden and yes it did.........

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  2. What beautiful butterflies! It is a pity that I do not see them in my garden !
    Gorgeous shots ! Greetings !

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  3. This is a marvelous series of photos - this is amazing! The colors are so vivid, and the focus is perfect!
    Thank you for linking up at http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2015/08/strange-visitors-in-garden.html

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  4. This is so cool! I'll bet you feel like Mother Nature herself as you stand in your garden.

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  5. Oh my goodness, Christa...these photos are just stunning! Such detail and color clarity. I have never seen the very brightly colored milk weed blooms before...around here, they are a more pinkish color. Thanks for visiting my blog. I love Virginia...we had a cabin there in Fancy Gap up until about this time last year. I miss it SO very much. Have a wonderful Thursday!

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  6. Totally amazing and oh so wonderful.

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  7. So fascinating!! Your photos are absolutely stunning as you were able to capture the Monarchs up close and personal!!
    Mary Alice

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  8. Exquisite images. Very well done, Christa. You have every reason to be proud of the contribution you've made to saving the Monarchs. I will check out some milkweed for my garden next summer. All the best, Bonny

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  9. What a magnificent group of photos. I applaud your contribution, your garden, and your photography!

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  10. Wonderful, colorful group of photos! Good job Christa!

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  11. WOW! Simply awesome macro images!! Loved your Monarchs!Greetings from Dubai and will be back soon. Have a great weekend!

    Shantana

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  12. Marvelous posting!!! Great color, detail, bokeh and subject matter....informative text to boot. I hope you get to enjoy that 3rd generation of Monarchs in your garden. The top image is a POV one does not see...kudos...

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  13. these photos makes me HAPPY!!!!
    it´s beautiful!!!
    YOU are welcome to join
    SATURDAY SHOW OFF
    Hugs from Håkan

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  14. Gorgeous photos of the monarchs and milkweed in your garden. I'm glad they feel welcome there.

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  15. Stunning images, Christa, of your beautiful Monarchs as well as the gorgeous milkweed in your garden!

    Poppy

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  16. Your photos are first class! I love how clear and colorful they are. The Monarchs haven't come by here yet, which I guess is a good thing since nothing is blooming yet.

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  17. Stunning photos of these beauties! I'm so happy your project was successful.

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  18. Looks like you have a beautiful garden. That one of the reason why butterflies are attracted to your garden. I love the images you have captured, Keep documenting those ordinary yet incredible events in your garden.

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  19. Gorgeous photos! Thanks for joining Oygif. Your Monarch will be featured this weekend. Hope you could drop by.

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  20. Stunning images! The monarchs are really regal!
    Thank you for taking part in Floral Friday Fotos, I look forward to your next contribution.

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  21. What great shots of YOUR butterflies :) That first shot is awesome. I really like your flowers, too, the colors are great--I'm sure that's why the visitors come.

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  22. With this post at least we know the monarchs are still around in numbers. Very few butterflies where I am in Ontario - a wet summer and intense heat for over a week may have been affecting factors.
    I hope you'll try to link to Mosaic Monday next week Christa.

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  23. Hello Christa, gorgeous post. The butterflies and flowers are just so colorful and pretty. Have a happy day!

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  24. My neighbor plants milkweed every year, and has never had a Monarch. Great photos - probably took a lot of time and patience.
    Ray

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  25. Gorgeous photos of the monarchs and other insects on the beautiful flowers! You haven't posted in awhile; I hope all is well with you.

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  26. Merry Christmas to you and your family !

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  27. Christa, I wish you a wonderful New Year !!

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  28. Your colorful photos are so touching. They are full of natural life. Gorgeous Monarch butterfly!

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