Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Backyard Butterflies

This is our second summer of harvest of Asclepias syriaca...that's common milkweed to you and me. My husband doubled our plot this summer. Despite the fact that we're about 3-4 weeks later in seeing any visitors than we did last year, we finally have been recognized on the monarch mapping system as a safe place to land. We are now reaping the bounty of that harvest with the whole variety of life stages of Danaus plexippus: The Monarch butterfly.


Yesterday's count showed me 35 chrysalis at various places in our back yard & 5 caterpillars on a very stripped patch of milkweed. Those little 5 are going to have a hard go of it as there are no milkweeds left! Seriously, my photo dates show fully blossomed and leafy milkweed from just two weeks ago! Amazing how much they chowed down in that two week time period!

What also has really struck me is the great distance some of them have gone to set up their chrysalis shop. A couple even scurried quite a ways to create their chrysalis on the netting of our backyard lacrosse goal. Not your safest spot, li'l guys!!

It all struck me by Barbara Kingsolver's book Flight Behavior, which I read earlier in the summer. It's the fictional tale all about monarchs and their surprisingly northern migration resting spot due to the warming result of climate change. 
Along the way, I ran across this Native Pollinator lesson plan from National Wildlife Federation. It has more than just monarchs, but is a great resource. 

I have a feeling, next year our Milkweed & Monarch plot will be even bigger. It's been wonderful being a part of putting beauty into the yard by way of my backyard.

photos & video from my backyard.

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