Following are three images of Monarch butterflies during a drive at Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge.
Hurricane Isaias is only glancing at Florida and is headed to the northeast. Storms with strong winds (70 mph or 112 kph) are predicted for our area. Yesterday, I went to the Edwin B. Forsythe refuge and saw groups of shorebirds huddled together on the water sleeping. Maybe they flew away from the storms and were resting there?
There were many American Avocets that are usually rare in New Jersey.
Sand flies were also abundant and forced me to go home early. There hibiscuses and milkweed are in full bloom, and butterflies were flittering about.
This is what the Monarch chrysalis looked like on 20-Sep-2018.
Three days ago, the butterfly was visible inside.
Yesterday, I saw no change and did not take a picture. Today I was out of town for most of the day. When I came back in late afternoon, the chrysalis was empty! I removed the empty and dry cover from the underside of our house siding, laid it on a table and took the following pictures.
So, in this case, it took a total of 17 days before the Monarch butterfly emerged, and not 10 to 14 days as written on several Web sites about Monarch butterflies. I am disappointed to have missed the emergence of the butterfly, but I am happy that it did finally emerge, and may be on its Southern migration soon, if not already.
Here’s a photo of a Monarch butterfly, but it’s not the one from the above chrysalis.
Three weeks ago, on August 30th, I posted pictures of about a dozen Monarch caterpillars munching on milkweed leaves, like the ones shown below.
A few days later, they all disappeared. I suspected the birds ate them because I saw some birds diving toward the milkweed and then flying away. I thought that was the end of that Monarch generation, and promised myself to hang some kind of netting next year to keep the birds from consuming the caterpillars.
This morning, I saw one Monarch caterpillar attached to our house siding, about four feet from the milkweed plants. It was busy weaving and by noontime had transformed itself into a Chrysalis. To prevent the birds from eating it, I hung a piece of transparent plastic around it, with openings on three sides.
In 10 days, a Monarch butterfly will emerge from the above Chrysalis. I will try to be there to capture that moment.
Monarch butterflies are still visiting the milkweed plants every day. This morning I went out to look at the plants and was surprised to see caterpillars on them.
I hope these caterpillars will transform into pupa (chrysalis) and after that become the next generation of Monarch butterflies.
I have been planting milkweed (Asclepias Tuberosa) in our backyard for the past three years. It’s an easy plant, requiring virtually no care (note the weed in its name). A sunny afternoon found a bee and a Monarch butterfly on the milkweed.
After photographing waves crashing on the beach, I walked back to Barnegat Lighthouse and could not help but notice at least two Monarch butterflies flying around. One of them landed and held still long enough to have its picture taken.
Later I went to the Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts & Sciences, located in the nearby community with the unusual name of Loveladies, NJ. It is named after Thomas Lovelady who owned an island near the area. Over time the name of the place evolved into its current version, with a very visible sign welcoming visitors to Loveladies community…
As I walked around the grounds of the foundation, I stumbled on its Monarch butterfly waystation where many Monarch butterflies were feeding on milkweed and other kinds of flowers to replenish their energy for their annual migration to as far South as Mexico. This was the most I had seen in over 40 years!
There were also other butterflies, fellow diners.
There are definitely two Monarch butterflies in our backyard. We have been seeing them fluttering back and forth among the pink milkweed plants, or flying in tandem up and down. As soon as I got home yesterday, they swung by the glass patio door, challenging me to come out and take their pictures.
While driving at the Edwin B Forsythe Wildlife Refuge this past Sunday, I saw a few Monarch butterflies from time to time. What made me stop and take the following pictures is the intense orange of the milkweed flowers (Asclepias Tuberosa) which perfectly matched the Monarch’s colors. There were many other weeds around the area, but the Monarchs did not mind.
Three years ago, I planted pink milkweed, Asclepias Incarnata, in the back of our house to attract and help Monarch butterflies, whose number has been in decline in recent years. The first year several came, and then there were Monarch caterpillars crawling on the milkweed plants. Then after a few days they disappeared, maybe eaten by the many birds flying around our bird feeder. Last year, not one single Monarch showed up.
This year, at least one did appear, captured in the following photos.
The Monarch butterfly or butterflies that visited our milkweed plants must have laid some eggs. Last week I found several Monarch caterpillars crawling and munching on the plants.
However, after a few days they disappeared one at a time, even after new ones were hatched. Today, there are none left. I would like to think they became Monarch butterflies, but I am very afraid that the birds got them before they could do that. Perhaps I should put some netting over the plants as a barrier against birds, but it may already be too late for this year.
Yesterday, in this post, I told you that I was hoping Monarch butterflies will come to the milkweed that I planted from seed this spring. Milkweed (Asclepias) are vital host plants for Monarchs. Their caterpillars only eat milkweed, and the butterflies then lay their eggs on the plants.
This morning, by chance, I peeked out of my office window and saw a butterfly hovering over the milkweed. I grabbed my camera, went out and took the following pictures of our first Monarch as it kept flying in and out of the milkweed. Truly, plant it and they will come!
The gradual disappearance of milkweed, due to urban development, is one of the main causes for the decline in Monarch population. More of us should be planting milkweed to help these pretty butterflies.
Amy’s response to this week’s challenge inspired me to dig up the following photos of Monarch butterflies feasting on goldenrods. I took them four years ago at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia. Monarch butterflies seem to be disappearing, and they need all the help we can give them.