I raised a couple of Monarch caterpillars this August, something I had not done since I was a child. I collected them and ended up feeding them from my own supply of swamp milkweed leaves that went otherwise unused. While many pollinators visited to enjoy the nectar of the flowers, I did not note any Monarchs in the yard or find any eggs. A couple weeks ago I noticed each chrysalis was turning black not far apart from one another, and by late that morning they’d emerged. I released them onto my coneflowers after their wings dried, and one of the two females provided me a chance to photograph her for a few minutes before she fluttered away into the sky like the first.
A perfect look at a pristine butterfly. You can even see a Sachem skipper butterfly zipping past in the background of the first photo, something I did not notice until editing. That black and orange is so bold and vivid when it is so fresh. I hope both of my butterflies make it to Mexico!
Conservation & Outreach Coordinator