Tuesday, August 23, 2011

It Never Gets Old

Yesterday it was dripping just a bit of rain when I decided to walk the dogs, so I left my camera inside. Of course, that was when I saw the newly emerged monarch in the Cedar Grove! So I rushed back to the house, got the camera and was able to snap this photo to share with you....


I'm so glad that he (she?) waited patiently so that I could take the picture. I'm quite sure that this is the caterpillar I saw about 2 weeks ago. My only regret is that I didn't look harder for the chrysalis, as it was hanging from the milkweed leaf in plain sight.

Somehow the drop of rain hanging on the bottom of the empty chrysalis brings a poignant pang to my heart every time I look at it! The miracle of new life never gets old.

On this same patch of milkweed, I've seen 3 more milkweed caterpillars since that first one disappeared to pupate. They've all disappeared now (presumably doing their own metamorphoses) and I've lost track of which plant the first one was on, so I don't know if he moved to a different individual plant to pupate, or if he's on the same plant that he fed on as a caterpillar. Obviously somebody's been eating this plant!

I'm pretty sure this guy will be heading south on the monarch migration. My thoughts and hopes will be flying south with him. I hope he makes it safely!

5 comments:

~Gardener on Sherlock Street said...

That is great. Thank you for sharing. My milk weed plant turned out to be snow on the mountain. I think my friend gave me the wrong seeds. But, that's ok. It's tomorrow's post. Next year, I'm going to try again to get some milk weed.

Gaia Gardener: said...

I think that snow-on-the-mountain plants look a lot like milkweed plants until they start to bloom. Both have rather thick, rounded leaves with milky sap. Seeds, though, should be different...but I can't say that I've ever noticed snow-on-the-mountain seeds. I'll have to keep my eyes open!

ProfessorRoush said...

Haven't seen a monarch yet this year...in fact butterflies seem to be strangely absent...I thought I'd missed the migration.

Toni - Signature Gardens said...

Who knows, maybe your Monarch will come to my yard on its way south :-) I have some Mexican Milkweed just waiting. Amazing to witness such a delicate cycle of life.

Gaia Gardener: said...

Toni, I'll send mental instructions for him/her to do exactly that! As dry as everything is south of here, your garden should be pulsating like a beacon this fall!

Prof, I've hardly seen any butterflies either, but I've chalked it up to the fact that I've had few flowers this summer. Maybe it's more widespread than that. I just talked with a friend in Mobile, AL, who said that she and her gardening friends there have noticed they still have healthy looking maypops/passionflowers. Normally, at this time of year, they have been eaten to shadows of themselves by the Gulf fritillary caterpillars. Folks there also haven't been seeing any swallowtail caterpillars on fennel.