Friday, September 21, 2018

Out and About: A Great Summer for Monarch Butterflies

As summer ends today, I have to say that this has been a great season for Monarch Butterflies! I have kept track of first of the season sightings of Monarchs since 2013. That year my FOS was 9/3/13. I only saw five Monarchs for the season. I had in my notes that they were not doing well due to a very cold and late spring with lots of rain. The season before, in 2012, was very hot and dry through to Mexico and there was little water and flowers for them during migration. In 2014 my first sighting was August seventh and I didn't see one in my garden until September first. I had Lots of milkweed plants both years and other garden flowers. FOS for the following years: 6/26/15, 7/28/16, 5/19/17, 6/11/18. This year was incredible. From July fifth until I went on vacation on September Ninth, I had one, two and one day, three Monarchs in my garden each and every day! Many neighbors and friends reported seeing them too. The butterflies were constantly egg laying. Caterpillars were spotted and new Monarchs were born. I never found a chrysalis but I did find a shiny new butterfly on the ground. It didn't seem able to fly yet and I know they have to dry their wings for a bit before flying. However, the next day it was still on the ground. I carefully picked it up and brought it to a Purple Coneflower thinking it might need nectar. It immediately uncurled its proboscis(a mouthpart used for sucking) and drank nectar for a minute or so and then flew off. Hurrah!!! is a great site to see how the butterflies are doing on their migration and wintering over in Mexico.
Monarch Butterfly on a Milkweed Flower

Monarch Caterpillar on Milkweed Leaf-the only leaf it eats!

Caterpillar Poop Called Frass

Brand New Monarch Butterfly Which Needed Help to get to a Nectar Source

Monarch Cat on Milkweed Flower at Moxham Mountain Trailhead Minerva,N.Y.

Sitting to Dine

Hummer and Yellow Jacket Attracted to Sugar Water

Coneflower Seeds are Adored by Goldfinches. Leave them up!

Pileated Woodpecker Looks for a Nibble

But of Course!!! A Squirrel eats a Sunflower

Fall Crop of Kale Devoured by Cabbage White Caterpillars

White-breasted Nuthatch snatches a sunflower seed

Carolina Wren had a May Brood at my Garden, September Brood at Galloway's